After two rare months of being the top-selling gaming console in the United States, Microsoft's Xbox One bows down to the PlayStation 4 as Sony's eighth-generation console once again becomes the king of gaming systems in January.
In a statement released by Sony Computer Entertainment America to GameSpot, a company spokesperson says data by NPD Research Group put the PlayStation 4 as the console leader for the first month of 2015, effectively dethroning the Xbox One after selling the biggest number of consoles in November and December.
"PlayStation 4 was the top-selling console in January and remains the cumulative leader in the U.S., according to NPD data," Sony says. "Since launch in November 2013, 18.5 million PS4 units and 81.8 million software units have been sold through to consumers worldwide."
Although Microsoft only came in second, the company says it is doing quite well after its "record-breaking holiday." Microsoft corporate vice president of Xbox marketing Mike Nichols says the company just had its best January yet for the Xbox One, although consider that the Xbox One has only seen two Januarys so far. Microsoft did not say how many units it sold last month, but taking into account last year's figures, the company must have sold somewhere around 140,000 Xbox Ones.
Nichols also says Microsoft sold more game sales per console than any other platform. Additionally, Xbox Live also saw a 22 percent growth in gamers and hours compared to the same month last year.
Microsoft saw its sales number overtake the PS4 shortly after slashing $50 off the price of the Xbox One and bundling it with major releases such as Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed Unity for the Black Friday shopping craze and continuing into the holiday shopping season. January saw the price of the Xbox One bounce back to $400, but Microsoft must have realized nobody was pleased, so it cut down the Xbox One's price back to $350, although without the gaming bundles.
Coming in third is Nintendo, which says sales of the Wii U rose 30 percent during the previous month, which equals to some 64,000 units sold. Sales for Wii U games were also up by 45 percent, says Nintendo. Overall, Nintendo says it has sold around 1.4 million copies of Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U and 2.1 million for the 3DS.
Liam Callahan, analyst at NPD Group, says total hardware sales took a hit as sales for the gaming console industry were down by 23 percent, compared to sales during the same period last year. Combined figures for the PS4 and Xbox One were down by 22 percent, while the older PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 saw sales dip by 35 percent.
However, the good news for the industry is that the latest-generation consoles are selling much more than their older versions. Callahan says combined hardware sales for both the PS4 and Xbox One are nearly 60 percent higher than the total hardware sales for the PS3 and Xbox 360 at the same point in their life cycles, which is 15 months from release. The figures take into account the differing release dates of the older consoles. Microsoft began selling the Xbox 360 in November 2005, which was followed by the PS3 an entire year later.