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PS4 propels PlayStation top of global console sales

For the first time in eight years.

For the first time in eight years, Sony's back on top of global annual console sales.

Japanese newspaper Nikkei Business Daily (via AFP, MCV) totted up the annual console sales for each platform holder.

Sony's PlayStation machines sold 18.7m units; Nintendo's machines sold 16.31m units; and Microsoft's machines sold 11.6m units.

Here's Kaz Hirai on holiday, preparing to take the lead.

Do bear in mind that Sony has five consoles - PS4, PS3, PS2, Vita and PSP - and Microsoft has two: Xbox One and Xbox 360. Nintendo has Wii U, Wii, 3DS (includes 2DS and 3DS XL) and DS (includes DSi, DS Lite, DS XL).

PlayStation 4 propelled Sony into first place while Wii U dragged Nintendo down. In mid-April, Sony said 7m PS4 consoles had been sold. We may get an update on that figure tonight at Sony's E3 conference.

Microsoft issued a 5m figure for Xbox One in mid-April as well, but the important differentiation was it being a "sold-in to retailers" figure - ie. shipped - rather than actual to-consumer sales (like Sony's).

Nintendo sold 2.7m Wii U units in its last financial year, and has sold 6.17m Wii Us in total.

Good news for Sony, then, but both Microsoft and Nintendo will mount more of a challenge this year. Microsoft has taken Kinect out of the de facto Xbox One retail box, and in doing so lowered the price, and Nintendo has bolstered Wii U sales with the launch of the fantastic Mario Kart 8.

What else the platform holders have up their sleeves we'll see at E3 this week. The key conferences take place today (5.30pm BST Microsoft; 2am BST Sony; tomorrow 5pm BST Nintendo) and we'll be reporting live from each one so you don't miss a thing.

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