If those numbers seem low, it's because they are for consoles that have been sold, not shipped. Typically, hardware makers tout the number of consoles they have shipped into the retail channels, not numbers of actual consoles sold. In July, Microsoft announced it had shipped 11.5 million 360s, short of its self-imposed 12 million-unit goal. In May, Sony said it produced 5.5 million PS3s worldwide, though it has since changed its tracking method to account for consoles sold instead of made.
Despite the year long lead Microsoft had, the Kyoto based company enjoys the top position for the first time after the NES and Super Nintendo success, which was almost 17 years ago. With such a tight race, and upcoming blockbuster titles from all fronts, this race is surely heading for a photo finish.