Retailers might have dropped the price of the Xbox 360 to under half the price of a PS3, but that hasn't stopped gamers rushing out to pre-order Sony's new games console before it launches next month.

Across the UK retailers are reporting an unprecedented demand for PS3 as Sony itself gets ready for what could be the company’s "biggest hardware launch to date".

UK boss Ray Maguire comments have echoed what retailers up and down the country have been saying.

Gerry Berkley, head of games at Woolworths said, "PS3 pre-orders are coming in thick and fast. It is the fastest selling games product we have ever sold online and it is shaping up to be our biggest ever pre-order campaign for a console".

He went on to say, "Demand will inevitably outstrip supply, so our advice to customers is to pre-order to avoid disappointment".

Amazon.co.uk has PS3 pre-orders are only second to J. K. Rowling's book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

"The customer demand for the PS3 is high and sustained, and we are confident that it will take its place as one of the top selling items on Amazon.co.uk throughout 2007", a spokesperson said.

Argos, HMV, and Chips are reporting much the same.

"We've had they highest level of pre-orders of any machine to date - it's been phenomenal. Sony has guaranteed a healthy amount of units and we have every reason to believe they'll deliver", reported Chips MD Don McCabe.