Microsoft talks up Xbox sales records, but doesn’t get specific

Arif Bacchus

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Ahead of the big E3 2018 conference, Microsoft’s Mike Nichols talked up the Xbox hype and shared some “record-setting” news. Though this phrasing sounds promising, Microsoft is still not getting specific with sales units, rather staying vague, saying that Xbox One sales jumped 15% over last year.

One can assume that the Xbox One X is what contributed to the 15% sales jump which is being referred to here, but Microsoft has not released official Xbox sales figures since 2014. At the time, the company said it sold a modest 10 million Xbox One units. Then, EA later shared in 2016 that the company sold 18-19 million Xbox One units.

There is, however, an official statement on why Microsoft is no longer providing specific sales figures, and it has nothing to with the fact that Sony’s PS4 is on top of console sales at 79.8 million units sold. A Microsoft spokesperson tells Variety about the company’s shift to focus on engagement instead.

We are continuing to look at engagement as our key metric for success and are no longer reporting on total console sales… During Microsoft’s FY18 Q3 earnings, we announced that gaming revenue grew 18 percent year-over-year, driven by Xbox software and services revenue growth of 24 percent, and Xbox Live monthly active users grew 13 percent year-over-year to 59 million. We continue to see strong growth with time spent on Xbox Live, and look forward to bringing more unprecedented experiences on Xbox One, Windows 10 PC and mobile

Microsoft appears to be shifting focus away from specific sales figures and is rather talking about Xbox Live hype instead. The company said in yesterday’s posting that 600,000 friendships were forged with the Looking For Group feature with more than 1.2 million Clubs being open on Xbox Live.

The move makes sense, as Microsoft currently has many Xbox Live offerings. There is both Xbox Game Pass service and Xbox Play Anywhere on Windows 10 and PC, which offer gamers big value for their buck. Unfortunately, though, some argue that the PS4 continues to offer better exclusive titles, which many believe is what matters most to gamers. Time will tell, and we’ll have to see if Microsoft can sway gamers back to Xbox come E3 2018.