Sony is expected to remain the leading video game console maker through this fiscal year. Reuters

Ahead of this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, which is set to kick off in Los Angeles Tuesday, Sony Corp (NYSE:SNE) has surpassed Nintendo Co. Ltd. (TYO:7974) in video-game console sales for the first time in eight years, according to a new report.

Thanks to the successful launch of the PlayStation 4, or PS4, Sony sold 18.7 million consoles in the last financial year ending in March, while Nintendo managed to sell 16.2 million systems during the same period, Japan’s Nikkei reported, based on official figures released by Sony and Nintendo.

Following PS4’s launch in November, Sony had sold nearly 7 million units of the new console by the end of March, boosting the company's overall unit sales, despite an annual decline of 20 percent. In comparison, Nintendo’s console sales dropped 31 percent due to poor performance by the company’s portable Nintendo 3DS system and the new Wii U.

For Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), the release of the new Xbox One in the U.S. and other markets, in November, helped the company’s sales rise 16 percent to 11.6 million units during the last financial year.

Although Sony’s PS4 is the best-selling console in the world, the device lost ground to the Wii U in Japan in recent weeks, BBC reported, citing Media Create, a market research firm. According to sales figures provided by Media Create, Nintendo sold 19,312 Wii U units in Japan in the last week of May while only 6,022 units of PS4 were bought in that period.

Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft are expected to announce new game titles this week, to coincide with the E3 expo in Los Angeles.

Sony, which is expected to remain the leading video-game console maker for all of this fiscal year, last topped the list of console sales in 2005, Nikkei reported, adding that console manufacturers would do well to focus on new features and services, as competition from smartphone-based games continues to threaten the console-based gaming industry.