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Xbox One outsells PlayStation 4 in December, overall games sales down in 2013

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The Xbox One might have won December, but the PS4 is winning the war.

According to brick and mortar retail tracker The NPD Group, both of Microsoft’s consoles outperformed Sony’s in the final month of 2013 in the U.S. Microsoft sold 908,000 Xbox Ones and 643,000 Xbox 360s in December, surpassing the totals for both the PS4 and PS3, though Sony did not provide specific numbers.

Not that they really needed to, as NPD also pointed out that the PS4 is still the bigger seller since launch, echoing Sony’s earlier announcement in January.

"Xbox One led console sales in December, while PS4’s two-month total makes it the best selling console during the two-month launch window,” said the NPD.

Sony also had an excuse for coming up short in December: supply problems.

“We sold every PS4 available at retail in the U.S. and were out of stock in December due to overwhelming consumer demand,” the company said in a statement.

While the Xbox One was the top-selling console for the month, it wasn’t the top-selling overall system. That honor belongs to Nintendo’s 3DS handheld. Actually, you can go ahead and crown the 3DS the king of 2013, as it led all other systems to become the biggest selling system of the year. Nintendo didn't provide any sales info on their Wii U console for December, though the NPD's Liam Callaham said it was the console's best sales month thus far.

However, 2013 was, generally speaking, a down year. NPD put overall sales at $12.97 billion last year, 2 percent below 2012’s $13.27 billion. Those numbers include both hardware and software sales.

Software sales were down 11 percent year over year, dropping from $7.09 billion to $6.34 billion. That dip came, in part, due to a fairly lousy December for game sales, down 17 percent compared to December 2012. That December shortfall is well below analyst predictions. Wedbush’s Michael Pachter was only expecting a 1 percent decline during the key holiday month.

The disappointing December number means that while consumers were buying the new consoles, they weren’t loading up on games, at least at retail stores. Both the Xbox One and PS4 have very streamlined digital storefronts, neither of which are currently tracked by NPD.

Call of Duty: Ghosts topped the December charts, but to no one’s surprise, it was Grand Theft Auto V that captured bragging rights for the top selling game of 2013. Ghosts came in second for the year.

Most notable in the year-end best seller list, though, is Minecraft, which bested products from all major publishers to come in at number nine. The game, which was only available at retail on the Xbox 360, beat out both Disney Infinity and Skylanders: Swap Force, two popular franchises that were available on multiple platforms, as well as EA’s mammoth FIFA franchise.

Here’s a look at the best selling games of December 2013:

RankTitlePublisher
1Call Of Duty: GhostsActivision Blizzard (Corp)
2Battlefield 4 Electronic Arts
3Just Dance 2014 Ubisoft
4Madden NFL 25 Electronic Arts
5NBA 2K14Take 2 Interactive (Corp)
6Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag Ubisoft
7Grand Theft Auto VTake 2 Interactive (Corp)
8Lego Marvel Super HeroesWarner Bros. Interactive
9FIFA 14Electronic Arts
10Skylanders SWAP Force Activision Blizzard (Corp)

And here are the top 10 best-selling games of the year

RankTitlePublisher
1Grand Theft Auto V Take 2 Interactive (Corp)
2Call Of Duty: GhostsActivision Blizzard (Corp)
3Madden NFL 25 Electronic Arts
4Battlefield 4 Electronic Arts
5Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag Ubisoft
6NBA 2K14 Take 2 Interactive (Corp)
7Call of Duty: Black Ops IIActivision Blizzard (Corp)
8Just Dance 2014 Ubisoft
9Minecraft Microsoft (Corp)
10Disney Infinity Disney Interactive Studios

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