When Sony released their fiscal Q3 (Oct. - Dec. '06) financial results recently, most of the focus was on the PS3 and how the costs of its launch contributed to a massive loss for Sony's games unit. But, as the UK's Pocket Gamer points out, a massive slowdown in PSP shipments worldwide is probably just as worrying for the company.

In the three month holiday period, Sony shipped just 1.46 million PSP units worldwide, a nearly 72 percent decrease from the 6.22 million units shipped during the same period a year ago. Broken down territorially, Europe and Japan each got roughly 900,000 systems while North America saw only an anemic 10,000 PSP units shipped in the three month period (no, that isn't a typo). For comparison, Reuters reported in November that Nintendo planned to ship 1.5 million DS units to Japan in December alone.

But not all is doom and gloom in the Sony numbers. NPD data from December showed relatively healthy sales of nearly a million PSPs in North America, suggesting that Sony slowed North American shipments to let retailers sell off some of the 2 million systems shipped during the summer months. And despite the slowing hardware shipments, PSP software shipments actually rose 20 percent to 21.2 million units worldwide for the holiday season. Still, it's easy to look at this massive shipment slowdown and see the tide decisively turning towards Nintendo in the portable market share battle.

via joystiq