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NPD: PS4 tops Xbox One by 'narrow margin' in US in February

Tracking firm reports industry turnaround as hardware sales soar

The US games industry shook off months of declines in February 2014 as strong next-gen hardware and software sales drove overall year-on-year growth in the month.

Retail sales across hardware, software, and accessories grew 9 per cent to around $887 million over $810 million in February 2013, according to the latest report from retail tracking firm NPD Group.

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Total consumer spend is estimated at $1.47 billion, accounting for used and rentals spend at $131 million, and digital revenues including digital sales, DLC, microtransactions, subscriptions and mobile purchases, at $512 million.

PS4 led hardware sales in the month, beating Xbox One "by a narrow margin", says NPD Group's Liam Callahan. Xbox One sold over 90 percent of what the PS4 sold, according to NPD. "However, with Xbox One's higher price point it led hardware sales on a dollar basis," noted Callahan.

Microsoft reports Xbox One sales of 258,000 units sold in February. While Sony is yet to announce official PS4 sales, Microsoft's figure would indicate PS4 sales of approximately 286,000.

Strong sales of the two new machines drove significant increases in hardware sales in the month, which were up overall by around 42 per cent year-on-year, to $347 million over $244 million in 2013. Specifically, home console sales were up 60 per cent over the prior year.

Next-gen software sales are also positive, with Xbox One and PS4's combined first four month software sales outpacing the equivalent launch periods for PS3 and Xbox 360 by around 80 per cent. Microsoft claims roughly 2.75 Xbox One games sold per console.

Wii U and 3DS software sales were also up, driven by strong performances from new releases Bravely Default on 3DS and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze on Wii U.

Ongoing steep declines in Xbox 360 and PS3 software sales still resulted in an overall software sales decline of around 1 per cent - a marked improvement over the 25 per cent decline ('normalized') recorded in January 2014 versus the prior year.

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