Holiday shoppers scooped up Microsoft's latest Xbox gaming hardware, according to sales figures compiled by market research firm NPD Group.
Soon after NPD released its findings, the company announced that it had sold 908,000 Xbox One consoles in December, enough for Microsoft to claim the top spot for the month. And the hardware's predecessor wasn't too far behind. Buoyed by "strong momentum," 643,000 Xbox 360 units were sold last month, "putting it in the number three spot overall, and [in the] lead for last-generation hardware."
"We're grateful for the excitement and support of our fans—many purchasing their next Xbox console and many joining the Xbox family for the first time," said Xbox Corporate Vice President Yusuf Mehdi in a statement. "Our journey is just starting, with more innovation, games and entertainment coming in 2014 and far beyond."
The 2013 holiday season was kind to video game makers, according to VentureBeat's Jeffrey Grubb. "Gamers spent $3.28 billion on new physical games and hardware in December, according to industry-tracking firm The NPD Group. That's up 2 percent from $3.21 billion in 2012," he noted in his report.
The industry also saw a healthy gain in hardware sales, thanks, in part, to new systems from Microsoft and Sony, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, respectively. "As in November, hardware was where consumers were putting their money as they swooped up another $1.37 billion in new consoles. That's up 28 percent from $1.07 billion in 2012," wrote Grubb.
Microsoft's internal data revealed that, on average, U.S. buyers snapped up 2.9 games per Xbox One since the system launched Nov. 22. Shortly after it hit store shelves, Microsoft announced it had sold more than 1 million Xbox Ones, a record for the company.
The company also shared the following highlights.
--Total combined retail spend on the Xbox platform (Xbox One and Xbox 360) in December reached $1.39 billion, 50 percent of the combined software, hardware and accessories spend in the United States.
--During December, Xbox One held six of the top 10 spots on the new-generation console game title list: "Battlefield 4," "Forza Motorsport 5," "Dead Rising 3," "Ryse: Son of Rome," "Madden NFL 25" and "Call of Duty: Ghosts"
Sony's PlayStation 4 has managed to outsell the Microsoft Xbox One on a global basis, however. Available in more regions than the Xbox One, and with a lower starting price, Sony sold 4.2 million units by the end of 2013, versus 3 million for Microsoft's system. Meanwhile, a Linux-based gaming machine is gearing up to take on both companies.
During CES, Valve unveiled its Steam Machine Linux gaming console, which is being commercialized by 14 PC vendors, including Alienware and GigaByte. "With over 3,000 games and more than 65 million gamers on Steam, it's important to offer gamers a variety of Steam Machines that allow them to select what makes the most sense for them," said Valve co-founder Gabe Newell in a statement.