Benefiting from a significant price drop last month and a hardware redesign, Sony's PlayStation 3 took the top spot in the U.S. gaming console sales rankings for the first time since it was launched in November 2006. According to the latest figures from NPD, the Blu-ray equipped device sold 491,800 units in September, compared with 462,800 for the Nintendo Wii and 352,600 for Microsoft's Xbox 360.

No one managed to topple the Nintendo DS, however, which boasts an impressive 524,000 units sold for the month. The entire industry as a whole enjoyed a 1 percent year-on-year growth to $1.28 billion, breaking six months of straight decline. Of that amount, software was up 5 percent to $649.32 million, while hardware was down 6 percent to $472.28 million and accessory sales were up 2 percent to $157.33 million.

Despite being relegated to third place in hardware sales, the Xbox 360 actually accounted for around 32 percent of the September revenues when combined with software and accessory sales. Its exclusive Halo 3: ODST title no doubt contributed to this by selling over 1.52 million copies between its release on the 22nd and the end of September – more than three times its closest rival in little over a week.

Overall, it was a big month for console gaming. Microsoft also recently lowered the price of its 120GB Xbox 360 Elite model to $300, and Nintendo followed a month later with a $50 drop to $200, so it'll be interesting to see how they stack up against each other this coming holiday season. Feel free to speculate in the comments.