Eric Johnson

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PlayStation 4 Tops Gaming Hardware Sales in November, but Game Sales Are Way Down

The NPD Group has released hardware sales numbers for the first month of “next-gen” consoles (which, I guess, is now officially current gen), and Sony won, but only kinda sorta.

The PlayStation 4 outsold the Xbox One in the U.S. in November, with “the highest first month sales of a hardware platform on record,” according to the NPD report. However, the PS4 debuted on Nov. 15, while Microsoft’s new console debuted on Nov. 22.

“Demand continues to overwhelm supply, but we’re working hard to get PS4 units into the hands of customers throughout the holiday season,” Sony Computer Entertainment of America CEO Jack Tretton said in an emailed statement.

Xbox Live programming director Larry Hyrb pointed out on Twitter that the Xbox One was the “fastest selling” console in the U.S:

Screen Shot 2013-12-12 at 4.09.06 PM

NPD helpfully offered the middle ground between the two camps: “PlayStation 4 sales included an additional week within the November data month compared to Xbox One. When looking at sales on an average per-week basis, Xbox One led PS4. Keep in mind, however, that supply typically becomes constrained in the second week after launch.”

Both companies have previously reported strong initial sales on their own time frames: In their respective first 18 days, Sony says it sold 2.1 million PS4s in 32 countries and Microsoft says it sold two million Xbox Ones in 13 countries. More than one million units of both consoles were sold in their first 24 hours, though the PS4 was available only in two countries, the U.S. and Canada, at first, while the Xbox debuted in those 13 all at once.

Console sales are up 80 percent overall year over year, while sales of software introduced in November 2013 were down 41 percent from sales of software introduced in November 2012. So the new consoles’ launch titles perhaps weren’t as compelling as the hardware, but early games catalogs are rarely a good predictor of a console’s long-term health.

NPD also highlighted sales of Nintendo’s 3DS, up 15 percent year to date and buoyed by “strong content,” like the handheld’s new Legend of Zelda game.

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