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PS4 outsells Xbox One in April

Following Microsoft's announcement of a cheaper, Kinect-less Xbox One, NPD Group reports that Sony's PlayStation 4 yet again claimed the hardware crown.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Sony's PlayStation 4 outsold Microsoft's Xbox One for the fourth month in a row, according to the NPD Group's April sales report released Thursday.

"Hardware experienced a solid 76 percent growth over April 2013 driven by Console Hardware sales which increased by 120 percent in April 2014 over last year," Liam Callahan, a game industry analyst with NPD, said. "Life to date, sales of PS4 and Xbox One hardware have more than doubled the combined sales of PS3 and 360 hardware through their first six months of sales." Hardware jumped to $192.6 million from $109.6 million last year.

Despite the strong hardware push, software sales were down 10 percent year over year to $240.8 million from $267.8 million, with Callahan attributing the drop to a poor showing in April launch titles compared with last year's spring lineup.

Last month, Sony announced that it had sold to consumers 7 million consoles, while Microsoft announced that it had shipped to retailers 5 million units, putting a considerable and persistent gap between the two devices. Microsoft revealed that it sold 110,000 Xbox One units and 76,000 Xbox 360 units last month.

But updated lifetime hardware sales figures were not released by either company. However, Microsoft said that the Xbox One has sold 76 percent more units than its predecessor in its first six months on sale, meaning lifetime Xbox One sales may be as high as 5.6 million units considering the Xbox 360 had sold 3.2 million units by the end of Microsoft's second quarter in 2006.

The sales news comes off the heels of an energized effort from Microsoft to tilt the scales in its favor.

The Xbox maker on Tuesday announced that it would unbundle the Kinect motion sensor and sell its console stand alone for $399, putting its price in parity with that of Sony's offering.

In NPD's report, Microsoft may find some validation for its controversial decision -- the company long defended the Kinect's role as central to the Xbox One experience before reversing that stance -- seeing yet again that its next-gen offering is having trouble keeping pace with its primary competitor.

Microsoft did claim the majority of software sales in April, holding eight out of the 10 slots in the top game sales chart and selling 2.6 million units between the Xbox One and Xbox 360. Microsoft also revealed that its cumulatively sold more games for the Xbox One than any other eight-generation console.