The figures, based on data from market research company, NPD Group, show that the machine reached the landmark figure by 8 February – less than three months after its US and European launch in November and ahead of its Japanese launch on 22 February. Sony previously stated that its target was to sell 5m units by the close of March 2014.
The achievement places pressure on rival machine, the Xbox One. The last available figures from Microsoft showed that its own entry into the current console generation shipped 3.9m by 24 January. Since both devices launched in November 2013, the PlayStation 4 has tracked ahead of its competitor, and above the sales of its predecessor. The PlayStation 3 had sold 3.6m units within a similar period after its launch in 2006. Nintendo’s latest console, the Wii U, took over a year to pass the five million mark.
While both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are based around similar technology, PS4 launched at $100 cheaper than its competitor. Sony made the decision to sell its PlayStation Camera peripheral separately – unlike the Kinect device that comes bundled with Microsoft’s machine. Sony is also considered to have won the pre-launch hype war, getting hardcore gamers onside by concentrating its message on the machine’s gaming capabilities. Microsoft, however, used its Xbox One announcement event in May 2013 to present the console as a multimedia machine with live TV functionality. It’s early plans to concentrate on digital delivery of games, including ambiguous controls over pre-owned game sales, also alienated the core user base.
However, Xbox One is likely to receive a boost in sales in March with the release of long-awaited sci-fi shooter Titanfall, which is not available on PlayStation 4. Created by many of the team behind the multimillion-selling Call of Duty series, it’s certain to be one of the year’s major releases.
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image: © Sony Computer Entertainment Europe