Sony's PlayStation 4 led a surge in console sales that lifted the US video game market in April, said figures released Thursday by market research firm NPD Group.
Sales of video game hardware, mostly consoles, jumped 76 percent to $192.8 million during the month compared to a year ago, more than offsetting a 10-percent drop in sales of game software to $227.9 million, NPD reported.
Overall video game sales rose 17 percent to $580.3 million from the same month last year, according to NPD.
NPD estimated that the total spent in the US on video games topped a billion dollars during the month after adding in rentals, mobile apps, social network play, subscriptions, digital downloads, and other non-traditional revenue channels.
Microsoft said Tuesday it would sell a reduced-price version of its Xbox One console without the Kinect motion detection system. The move comes with Microsoft locked in a tough battle with Sony, which has been leading the game console market with its next-generation PlayStation 4.
To further sweeten the deal, Microsoft this week announced that it would let users view popular entertainment apps such as Netflix and ESPN without a $60-plus "Live" subscription, hoping to spur sales against rival devices like Sony's PlayStation 4 and Amazon's Fire TV.
Sales of the Xbox One console have lagged Sony's PS4 since their holiday launches. Microsoft Corp said last month it has sold over 5 million Xbox One video game consoles as of April 17. The console went on sale on November 22 in 13 countries, including the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, a week before Sony's PS4 which sold more than 7 million units as of April 6.
Written with inputs from AFP and Reuters