PS4 tops in console battle as Sony promises streaming game service

PS4 sold 4.2 million units last year, beating Microsoft's Xbox One. Sony also announced a cloud-based TV service

Sony sold more than 4 million PlayStation 4 units in December, putting it on top in the console war with Microsoft, Sony announced at International CES 2014 on Tuesday.

"As many of you are aware, we recently introduced a little product called PlayStation 4 to some great fanfare around the world," said Andrew House, president and group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment.

"It quickly became the largest console launch ever, selling over 2.1 million units in just two weeks. Today, I'm delighted to announce that the cumulative sell-through has now passed 4.2 million units as of Dec. 28."

The announcement, made during a CES keynote presentation by Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai, comes a day after Microsoft said that more than 3 million Xbox One consoles were sold worldwide by the end of 2013.

House also revealed a new streaming game service called PlayStation Now that will provide PS content to non-console devices such as smartphones and TVs, as well as providing gamers with access to previous-generation PS games.

"Soon, playing your favorite PS3 game on a tablet will be a reality," said House. For the first time ever, people will be able to play blockbuster PS3 titles including PlayStation game of the year "The Last of Us" and others on a Bravia or PS Vita, he added.

To make TV watching more personalized and adaptive, Sony will also begin testing a cloud-based TV service in the U.S. this year.

Few details were divulged, but it will combine live TV with a large on-demand content library, with features such as remote controls that recognize who picks them up, triggering individual preferences, sharing recommendations with friends, and streaming content across connected devices.

"People will have all of their favorite movies, TV shows and sports programs available through a single destination," said House. "The service is distinguished by an intuitive and dynamic interface that gets to know you as well as personalized channels that cater to your tastes."

Sony represents a formidable network, with more than 70 million Internet-enabled Sony devices in the U.S. including 25 million PS3 systems.

"Based on the number of users streaming videos on any given day, our network would rank among the top five cable and satellite providers in the U.S., and PlayStation 3 is the number-one device in the world for watching Netflix in the living room," House said.

Sony plans to start testing the service in the U.S. later this year, he said, promising more details then.

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Tags CESconsumer electronicsTVsDigital video recordersMedia players / recorderssonye-readersentertainment

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Tim Hornyak

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