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Sony Maintains Next-Gen Console Leadership With 20 Million Playstation 4 Units Sold

This week, Sony announced that it has sold over 20.2 million Playstation 4 units worldwide as of March 1, 2015.

"We are so grateful for the enormous support from PlayStation fans worldwide, and we are truly humbled that gamers around the globe have continued to select PS4 as the best place to play," said Andrew House, President and Global CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. "We remain steadfast in our commitment to deliver unique and interactive entertainment experiences powered by the network and the PS4 system's deep social capabilities."

The PS4 has maintained a strong leadership over its next in line rival, Microsoft's Xbox One, since both consoles came out last year, almost at the same time. The PS4 launched for $100 less (priced at $400) and with hardware that was roughly 50 percent faster (about 1.8 TeraFlops), making it possible to play most games in 1080p, while on the Xbox One, many games were rendered at 720p.

From the beginning, Sony focused on creating a good console experience, which pushed the company to use the most powerful hardware it could get into that $400 price point. Microsoft, on the other hand, tried to do more things at once with less powerful hardware (about 1.2 TeraFlops); the company also included the Kinect 2 camera, which added more to the cost of the device.

The extra cost was potentially more than the $100 Microsoft cut from the Xbox One price once it stopped bundling the Kinect 2 with the console, but the company kept the same pricing as PS4 for a while to get more sales. However, this strategy hasn't helped Microsoft catch up to the PS4 in sales. The last time Microsoft made the Xbox One sales numbers public was in November 2014, when the company announced it had sold almost 10 million units. With a good holiday quarter, that should bring up the total number of Xbox One sales to around 15 million.

Microsoft has recently offered another $50 discount for the Xbox One, making it only $350 now. This discount is possible because the Xbox One uses less powerful hardware (and therefore cheaper) than the PS4, so Microsoft should be able to continue to undercut the PS4 on price, even if the PS4 lowers its price to $350 as well later this year.

Although Nintendo has started doing better lately with its Wii U console, the PS4 has still managed to sell roughly twice as many units so far, despite the Nintendo Wii costing significantly less, at just $300.

With VR gaming potentially becoming the true "next-generation gaming," and with only the Playstation 4 supporting VR gaming out of the three consoles, starting next year with Project Morpheus, Sony will likely remain the market leader in gaming consoles over the next few years.

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Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.