Xbox One Scores Rare Victory Over PlayStation 4 In April Sales Race

It doesn't happen very often, so you'll have to excuse Microsoft if it savors the moment after its Xbox One console outsold rival Sony and its PlayStation 4 system last month, according to data collected by NPD Group. The Xbox One was the best selling game console in the U.S. in April, a month in which overall hardware sales decreased by 4 percent.

Microsoft needed a win. Since launch, the PS4 has been pretty consistent in outselling the Xbox One, which no doubt played a role in Microsoft's decision to sell the standalone console without a second generation Kinect motion control sensor. Microsoft also reacted to customer demand by running a series of promotions, including game bundles to sweeten the deal and a lower cost of entry -- it's pretty easy to find the Xbox One selling for $349, and that's with games included.

Xbox One Controller

To date, Sony's sold about 20 million PS4 systems. It's estimated that Microsoft has sold around 12 million Xbox One consoles, though that's not an official figure. Despite the disparity in sales, Microsoft was pleased as punch at winning in April and ready to gloat.

"As the best-selling console in the U.S. in April, fans set record April sales and engagement for Xbox One last month," Xbox marketing head Mike Nichols told GamesBeat. "Xbox One console sales in the U.S. increased 63 percent in April 2015 compared to April 2014 and Xbox Live comparisons showed the number of active global users [Xbox One and Xbox 360] grew 24 percent. We are grateful to our fans for their passion and support and are looking forward to sharing more on the best game lineup in Xbox history at E3."

Sony took the news in stride by pointing out that it still leads in cumulative sales and was ahead of Microsoft in April for software sales. However, that latter claim includes not just the PS4, but also the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita.