Sony cheers as PS4 sales top 18.5m

Sony's Playstation 4 game console. (AFP)
Sony's Playstation 4 game console. (AFP)

Las Vegas - Sony said this week sales of its PlayStation 4 video game consoles have topped 18.5 million.

Slightly more than four million PS4 units were bought during the year-end holiday season, Sony chief Kazuo Hirai said during a press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show gadget extravaganza taking place here this week.

"I'm liking those numbers," Hirai said. "This is a remarkable success for those consoles."

Game sales for PS4 consoles has remained strong, with more than 81.8 million copies sold as of Monday, according to the Japanese consumer electronics and entertainment titan.

Nearly 11 million people subscribe to a PlayStation Plus online network that delivers films, television shows, music and other digital content to consoles, according to Sony.

The PS4 console has been a bright spot for the struggling firm, which launched a sweeping restructuring in a bid to claw its way back to profitability.

The release of the PS4 in the United States and other markets has helped improve Sony's fortunes after a disappointing response to the console's predecessor, the PS3.

Nintendo's Wii U, launched in late 2012, took more than a year to sell just under six million units.

The PS4 is locked in a battle for dominance of the digital home entertainment market with Microsoft's Xbox One and the Wii U at a time when consoles are under intense pressure to prove their worth in a world where many now play downloadable games on smartphones and tablets.

PS4 outsold Xbox One consistently after both consoles launched in November of 2013, but Microsoft resorted to cutting the price of Xbox One and bundling games to boost sales during the recently ended holiday season.

Sony's gaming division has emerged as a potential savior for the company, which is struggling to reinvent itself in the digital age, having been left in the dust by nimbler rivals including South Korea's Samsung.

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