Sony says it had sold 4.2 million Playstation 4 consoles by the end of 2013, outpacing its main rival in the next generation gaming market.

The Japanese electronics firm, which launched its new console in a number of key markets in November, said it had reached the figure by 28 December last year.

By comparison Microsoft, which launched its competing Xbox One machine late last year, said it had achieved sales of 3 million units by the end of 2013.

Sony said it had also sold close to 10 million games during the same period, with Call of Duty: Ghosts and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag ranking among the more popular titles.

Nintendo’s competing device – the Wii U – has been on the market since late 2012, however sales have remained sluggish despite the massive success of its predecessor.

With console makers’ profit margins reliant on strong sales of games and accessories, getting their devices into as many homes as possible is of huge importance.

A larger market share can also have a knock-on effect on the quality of titles available for a console, as games developers often give priority to platforms that have the highest number of potential buyers.