According to the NPD Group, the Playstation 4 came out on top as the best-selling game console in January. No hard data was released, but Liam Callahan of the NPD group said “PS4 led overall hardware sales this month, followed by the Xbox One.”

Sony executive John Koller was a bit more specific yesterday and described sales of the PS4 as “nearly doubling the nearest next-gen competitor.”

This is a huge win for Sony. The U.S. has long been seen as a Microsoft stronghold. Besting them on their home turf and worldwide is an enormous turnaround from the first months of the PS3. Microsoft did take the top spot in December, but it wasn’t a 2-to-1 margin like January.

Microsoft’s Yusuf Mehdi touted Xbox’s numbers in a blog post. “We are incredibly humbled and proud to see Xbox One continue to be the best launch of an Xbox in our history. Comparatively, Xbox One consoles have sold at a rate of 2.29 times faster than Xbox 360 in the U.S. in the same timeframe for the first three months on the market,” said Mehdi.

Mehdi added, “January NPD Group figures released today revealed Xbox* sold the most games across all console platforms in January with 2.27 million units sold, making up 47 percent of software market share.”

The Xbox* means the entire Xbox brand. Xbox 360 sales are included in the figure above.

The Xbox brand held five of the top 10 spots on the software list including Battlefield 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Minecraft and GTA V.

Call of Duty: Ghosts showed it’s still not willing to give up its crown as the top-selling game in January. Every year people wonder if Call of Duty fatigue will set in, and every year Call of Duty continues to dominate the charts. The franchise is starting to slow a bit, but it still remains one of the top ones in the industry.

Physical hardware sales rose to $241 million compared to $205 million a year ago. Not surprising given the new hardware, but still impressive. Last January, the NPD Group tracked five weeks’ worth of sales while last month was only four months.

“Continued success of the new consoles drove a 17 percent increase in hardware sales in January 2014, and when taking into account the five-week month of January 2013 compared to the four-week month of January 2014, normalized sales of hardware were up 47 percent,” Callahan said.

Overall sales in the video game industry (including console, accessories and software) fell 21% to $664 million from $835 million. That missing week in last month’s report appears to have had a bigger effect on the overall industry.

Microsoft needs March to come right now. Titanfall is its biggest release for the first half of 2014 and they need it to drive hardware sales. If Titanfall can’t do it, Microsoft is going to have to take a good hard look at its console strategy. The $500 price point is doing them no favors. But, let’s wait and see what happens with Titanfall. We can speculate all we want, but there’s not that much compelling software on either console to make them a must buy yet.

What are your thoughts on January’s sales numbers? Is it time for Microsoft to panic? Or, is this the calm before the Titanfall storm?


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