Xbox Live users reach 55 million in 2016 while over $1 billion were spent on digital transactions

Brad Stephenson

Xbox One inflatable controller from Microsoft Australia

Microsoft released their earnings for the second quarter of the 2017 financial year (fourth quarter of the 2016 calendar year) earlier today and while there have been some small losses in revenue in the company’s Xbox gaming sector, overall the department saw impressive growth that should positively impact the company going forward.

Xbox gaming revenue decreased 3% during the second quarter due to the reduced sales price of the Xbox One consoles and lower overall unit sales. This loss was offset though by impressive growth in Xbox software and services which grew 18% with digital purchases reaching an all-time high of $1 billion “due to strong game line-up and continued adoption of digital distribution,” the official report released by Microsoft reads.

The number of active users on Microsoft’s Xbox Live network also increased with 55 million members actively using the gaming service in the second quarter compared to 48 million during the same time last year. These numbers reflect network activity across Xbox One consoles, Windows 10 devices, and mobile phones and it’s likely that Microsoft’s further implementation of their Xbox service on Windows 10 PCs and tablets was a contributing factor in this growth. It’s not just hardcore console gamers that use Xbox Live anymore. Casual gamers playing Solitaire on their Windows PC are now also signing up and using the service.

By comparison, Sony’s rival PlayStation Network reached over 60 million active users during the 2016 calendar year and Steam officially states that they have 35 million active users (with between 7 to 12 million concurrent players at any one time).

2017 will be an exciting year for Xbox with the launch of Project Scorpio, which is rumored to be significantly more powerful than the regular Xbox One model, and the continued evolution of the Beam video game streaming service which Microsoft purchased in late-2016. Both Beam and Xbox services will continue to be further integrated into Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile devices which will expand their reach significantly and should lead to further growth throughout 2017 and beyond.

What do you think? Do you see Xbox succeeding in 2017 or are you disappointed by some of the decisions Microsoft has been making? Share your thoughts and theories with the community in the comments below.