Microsoft closed out a strong holiday showing by outselling the Sony’s PS4 in November and December in the U.S., according to the NPD group. While Sony holds a healthy lead in worldwide sales, Microsoft is making up ground in the U.S – a traditional stronghold for Microsoft.

Despite coming in behind the Xbox One in November and December, the PS4 was the top-selling console in 2014 in the U.S.

Nintendo also had a good December. Sales for the Wii U system jumped nearly 30% for the year compared to 2013. Just like the 3DS, software moves units – especially first-party software.

Here’s 3 things you need to know about December’s NPD.

Console Gaming is Stronger Than Ever

Hardware sales jumped 20% year-over-year. Several factors were involved here. Playstation 4 sales remained strong. Xbox One sales were even stronger thanks to a price cut and some decent first-party titles. Plus, Nintendo is finally starting to pull itself out of its hole.

Microsoft also announced the Xbox One will return to its $349 price after it went back to $400 for a couple weeks. That sucks for those of you who bought one in the last few days. I guess these temporary price cuts are creating a kind of pseudo-urgency. They need to just make it permanent.

Amiibos Are Huge for Nintendo

Nintendo is killing it with its amiibo figures. In their PR statement, Nintendo said total sales of amiibo figures in 2014 are nearly twice the sales of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. Smash sold 1.3 million units, so that puts amiibo sales at just under 2.6 million. Whoever greenlit that idea at Nintendo deserves a huge raise.

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The Halo Brand is Still Strong

These numbers might seem surprising at first, but Activision has seen massive success with toys also. The Skylanders franchise sold 175 million toys and generated $2 billion in sales as of the first quarter of 2014.

The Top Ten in Software

Software sales dipped 13% in December compared to a year ago. Here were the top sellers for December and for the year. Digital software sales are not counted by the NPD. Considering that, I doubt software sales took that big of a hit compared to a year ago.

December software sales NPD

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