During his speech at the Wells Fargo 2023 TMT Summit, the Microsoft CFO, Tim Stuartalso explained why the company, for some time, he no longer reveals the precise numbers regarding the quantity of consoles sold of the Xbox division.
The decision was made by Microsoft in 2015 and has always been interpreted as a desire not to highlight the cold numbers, considering that Xbox has since remained in third position in terms of hardware sales for consoles, compared to its competitors.
Stuart did not report precisely this motivationbut his speech does not invalidate the theory, but provides further information and places the decision in a broader context, which justifies a different view of the data on Microsoft’s part.
At the beginning, the company’s CFO revealed, this was greeted with considerable surprise: “what are you doing? You manage the Xbox business and you don’t provide us with the sales data for the consoles, it doesn’t make sense”, it seems that was the common thought in 2015, when the flow of information in this field stopped.
Xbox is more than just consoles
The fact is that Microsoft has made a shift in focus towards the quantity of users within theecosystem Xbox and the amount of money that comes from it. Within this vision, the quantity of consoles sold “is not necessarily a reflection of how healthy the ecosystem is”, Phil Spencer himself reported.
Stuart further explained that Xbox is not just represented by consoles, but it is a complex ecosystem that encompasses console, PC, mobile platforms and more, with the other sectors being, in some markets, actually more important even than consoles.
Considering that the console market is around 200 million users, the PC market is worth at least double these and on the mobile front we are talking about billions, in Microsoft’s vision the sale of consoles represents only a fraction of the overall performance of the division.
With the acquisition of Activision Blizzard this will become even more evident, considering that Xbox sales will also include those made on PS5, PS4, Nintendo Switch and subsequent competing consoles, considering Xbox Game Studios’ desire to launch the games as multiplatform.
In light of all this, the insistence on the quantity of consoles sold was seen as counterproductive to indicate the overall health of Xbox, so the data was no longer released publicly. Furthermore, this discussion also includes the idea of expanding Xbox to any device, including PlayStation and Nintendo.
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