Microsoft got off to a flyer this console generation, with a delayed PS3 launch and a joke machine from Nintendo handing it the serious home market for a few easy years. But PS3 has finally, inevitably, edged into the lead on a global basis.

Figures released by analyst IDC claim that as of December 2012, total PS3 shipments hit 77 million units around the world, with Sony's box finally edging ahead of Microsoft's 76 million Xbox 360 sales.

It's not a clear win, though. In the enormous US market, Xbox 360 has always been ahead and is stretching its lead every month. Just last night, Microsoft was celebrating its 24th consecutive month of outselling the PS3 in the US, with Sony's global sales lead coming from better performances in Japan and parts of Europe. [CVG]