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Sony takes early console war lead with 4.2 million PS4 systems sold in 2013

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Sony's Andrew House shows off the PS4 at E3 2013 (Credit: Getty Images)

Not so fast, Microsoft.

During a keynote speech at the CES Show in Las Vegas, Sony Computer Entertainment President and Group CEO Andrew House, announced Tuesday that the company has sold through 4.2 million PlayStation 4 units worldwide as of December 28, 2013.

That’s more than 1 million units higher than some analysts were predicting -- and, perhaps more importantly, it handily beats Microsoft’s Xbox One initial sales. Yesterday, Microsoft announced that more than 3 million Xbox One systems were sold last year.

It's not exactly apples to apples, however, as Sony enjoyed a significant one-week advantage in 2013 by releasing the PS4 on November 15, compared to the November 22 release of the Xbox One.

But Sony’s numbers are particularly impressive when you consider the pace. The 4.2 million sales figure is double the last number Sony gave when reporting PS4 sales back on December 3. A breakdown of Microsoft's numbers, meanwhile, indicates that the Xbox One saw a slowdown during December. In other words, PS4 sales stayed consistent, while the Xbox One tapered off a bit.

Sony also trumpeted software sales, with 9.7 million titles sold at retail and via digital download. Consumers are embracing the system’s social features as well. Sony reported that PS4 users have streamed more than 1.7 million gameplay broadcasts through Twitch and Ustream so far, totaling more than 55 million minutes. Cue the joyful statement:

"The momentum of the PS4 system keeps getting stronger and we couldn't be more thrilled gamers worldwide are enjoying the incredibly immersive gaming experiences along with deep social capabilities and entertainment provided by our network," said House. "After a remarkable launch, we look forward to bringing even more exciting content and continuing to explore the power of the PS4 system by adding new features and services, including PlayStation Now, in 2014."

PlayStation Now is the official name for Sony’s streaming service, powered by cloud-based streaming service Gaikai, which will allow users to stream and play titles from all generations of PlayStation on the PS4 and Vita, among other systems.

The beta for that service is slated to start later this month, with a full rollout this summer, Sony said.

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