The rival consoles were released in November and eagerly snapped up by players.
Nintendo's Wii U consoles also fared well during the holidays, with December logging its best monthly sales since its release about 13 months earlier, Callahan said.
Video game hardware sales more than offset a 17 percent drop in sales of game software to $1.31 billion in December, according to NPD.
For the full year, game software sales were down 11 percent from 2012 to $6.34 billion. One reason for the drop was said to be that fewer titles were released.
US video game hardware sales for the December holiday period were $1.37 billion, a 28 percent rise over the same period a year earlier, NPD reported
Video game hardware sales for the year tallied $4.26 billion, up five percent from the $4.04 billion logged in 2012.
When factoring in money spent on game rentals, downloadable content, micro-transactions, mobile "apps," play at social networks, subscriptions, and used game sales, nearly $2.4 billion was spent on games in December, according to NPD.
NPD ranked "Grand Theft Auto V," published by Take 2 Interactive Software, as last year's top-selling video game.
Electronic Arts' military shooter title "Battlefield 4" was the second most popular game with buyers, with France-based Ubisoft's "Just Dance 2014" taking third spot.
The latest installment of the beloved "Call of Duty" franchise was the best selling game in the United States in December, according to the industry tracker.It was the fifth consecutive month of rising overall US sales in the video game industry.