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Report: Sony backlash causing spike in PS3 trade-ins

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As the PlayStation Network outage inches closer to the one-month mark, the extended downtime is testing more than just the patience of some players.

It's testing their loyalty.

Some retailers in the U.K. report that they have seen a substantial increase in trade-ins of PlayStation 3 consoles, with gamers either pocketing the cash or using it to buy an Xbox 360, reports Edge.

Here in the U.S., things are a little murkier. GameStop is slated to release its quarterly earnings next week, putting it in an SEC "quiet period" where it does not comment on activities that can affect its financial numbers -- including trade-in trends. The company could address the matter during a conference call with analysts next Thursday.

While the U.S. effects may be unclear, Edge reports some U.K. stores are seeing an increase of over 200 percent in PS3 console trades, mostly from core fans of online shooters like Call of Duty.

Sales of that title and soccer game FIFA 11, which also has a heavy online focus, have skewed towards the Xbox 360 overseas since the breach was announced. Edge also reports that many consumers are canceling PS3 pre-orders of upcoming games and switching to the Xbox 360 version, though the publication's story is based on a relatively small sample of all U.K. retailers.

Completely walking away from a platform because of a few weeks of downtime is certainly reactionary -- and not something most owners are likely to do -- but the frustrations are obviously mounting.

"Xbox is starting to look better and better," said one commenter on the official Sony PlayStation blog after the latest announcement that the company was still unsure when the system would go back online.

Analysts note that online play is increasingly considered a critical element for players. In fact, they say, it's part of the reason that physical game sales continue to slide throughout the industry.

"We think that the shift of playing time in favor of multiplayer online (for games like Call of Duty, Halo and Battlefield) and co-op (for games like Portal 2) divert gamers' attention and available time away from considering new purchases, and have a deleterious effect on new game sales," says Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities.

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