The new Xbox One and PlayStation 4 fueled a 50% spike in video game console sales in December, compared with a year earlier, as enthusiasts rushed to buy the latest systems.
Micrososoft's Xbox One was the top-selling console in December, but Sony's rival PS4 sold more units since the November launch of the new systems, according to newly released figures from the NPD Group.
"The newest consoles from Microsoft and Sony are off to a tremendous start," said NPD Group analyst Liam Callahan.
Overall hardware sales, including the top-selling Nintendo 3DS handheld game system, reached $1.37 billion in December. That's an increase of 28% from the same time a year ago. December sales of accessories rose by 4% to $631 million.
Gains in hardware and accessories sales offset a 17% drop in consumer spending on packaged video games, driving a 2% increase in total spending on physical game products in December to $3.28 billion, according to the NPD data.
Digital revenue now accounts for about half of all consumer spending on games. Video game rentals and spending on mobile apps, subscriptions, Facebook apps and small transactions that improves a game experience, amounted to more than $1 billion in December, NPD estimates.
Taken together, overrall spending on games — both on disc and digital — amounted to nearly $2.4 billion, NPD reports.
Take Two Interactive's "Grand Theft Auto V," set in a fictional sun-soaked city similar to Los Angeles, ranked as the top-selling game of 2013 and is close to surpassing sales of "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" to make it the bestselling game in the franchise, Callahan said.
Activision Blizzard's warfare-game "Call of Duty: Ghosts" was the top-selling title in December.
The best-selling packaged games of 2013:
- "Grand Theft Auto V" (Take Two Interactive)
- "Call of Duty: Ghosts" (Activision Blizzard)
- "Madden NFL 25" (Electronic Arts)
- "Battlefield 4" (Electronic Arts)
- "Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag" (Ubisoft)
- "NBA 2K14" (Take 2 Interactive)
- "Call of Duty: Black Ops II" (Activision Blizzard)
- "Just Dance 2014" (Ubisoft)
- "Minecraft" (Microsoft)
- "Disney Infinity" (Disney Interactive Studios)