In Titanfall, Microsoft pinned its hopes on a springtime sale surge for the Xbox One. While the first-person sci-fi shooter -- which came out March 11 -- did indeed capture the top spot for March software sales, it was not a strong enough next-gen console driver to push US Xbox One sales ahead of Sony's PlayStation 4.
"In March 2014, Sony's PS4 led hardware sales for the third month in a row," said Liam Callahan, a video game analyst with NPD Group. Microsoft announced that it sold 311,000 units in the US in March, and said that the console had surpassed 5 million units sold-in -- meaning only sold to retailers, not purchased by consumers -- worldwide. Despite Sony's lead, it did not disclose sales figures for the PlayStation 4 for March alone.
That's not reassuring news for Microsoft, which went so far as to bundle Titanfall with the Xbox One in the US for the same price, $499.99, as the system retailed for outright. British retailers also cut the price of the console by 30 pounds in the UK going into March, and just last week followed that up with a price cut to the Titanfall bundle that brought it down to 350 pounds, or roughly 80 pounds lower than the system by itself retailed for at launch.
Titanfall is still selling strongly, NPD reports. The title is now the second-highest selling game for the Xbox One. Sony PS4 exclusive Infamous: Second Son trailed behind Titanfall at No. 2 in March software sales.
Overall video game sales across hardware, software, and accessories increased by 3 percent this month over the same time last year, with the boost coming mostly from hardware -- up 78 percent year over year -- to make up for a significant 42 percent year-over-year drop in software sales of March launch games.
Sony's March lead comes on the heels of its announcement yesterday that the PS4 had reached a staggering 7 million in worldwide sales.
Granted, both consoles are vastly outselling their predecessors. Total PS4 sales are up 94 percent what they were five months post-launch for the PS3 back in 2007, while lifetime Xbox One sales are up 56 percent over Xbox 360 sales at the same time post-launch. Both February and March Xbox One sales marked a more than 60 percent jump over comparable Xbox 360 sales back in 2006.
"PS4 and Xbox One continue to see success with cumulative sales of the two consoles through the first five months currently totaling more than double that of their predecessors, the PS3 and Xbox 360," Callahan reported.
Update, 3:51 p.m. PT: Added Xbox One sales figures provided by Microsoft.