Xbox Live lifts Microsoft's Q3 Gaming revenue by 4%

Xbox Live users up 13% to 52 million in the third quarter, but other Gaming figures were thin on the ground

Microsoft's Gaming revenue was up 4% in the third fiscal quarter, representing $78 million in year-on-year gains.

The driver of that growth was Xbox Live, with Q3 software and services revenue up 7% over the prior year. The only other solid figures related to Gaming that Microsoft offered were a 13% rise in the number of Xbox Live users, from 46 million to 52 million active accounts.

The lack of detail is down to the way Microsoft reports its financial results, with Gaming buried in the larger Personal Computing category, which also includes Windows, search and other businesses. The Personal Computing segment saw revenue decline by $703 million, or 7%, recording $8.8 billion in Q3. Operating profit increased, though, rising 20% to $2.1 billion for the quarter.

Microsoft no longer reports specific hardware sales, but Q3 was notable for being the quarter in which the company revealed the specs for its souped-up Scorpio console to our sister site, Eurogamer. The Scorpio's performance certainly impressed Digital Foundry's Richard Leadbetter, who described it as "remarkable."

On the content side, Microsoft's first-party strategy for Xbox was scrutinised after it dropped Platinum Games' eagerly awaited Scalebound after years in development. Xbox boss Phil Spencer insisted that first-party remained a "critical" feature of the platform's strategy, but the most promising new content initiative of the quarter was the Xbox Pass subscription service.

Overall, Microsoft earned $13.4 billion in revenue in Q3, down from $14.3 billion in the same quarter last year. Net profit was up, from $3.8 billion last year to $4.8 billion this year.

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