Microsoft stops reporting console sales

Company shifts focus to Xbox Live engagement metrics

Apples-to-apples comparisons in the console wars are getting even harder to come by. As reported by Game Informer, Microsoft has changed the way it reports the performance of its Xbox gaming business.

Going forward, Microsoft will no longer give quarterly sales updates for its Xbox One hardware. Instead, it will give metrics related to its Xbox Live gaming service. According to the report, the company is focusing more on engagement than console sales as a measuring stick.

In reporting its earnings yesterday, Microsoft said Xbox Live monthly active users were up 28 percent year-over-year to 39 million. (The company did not indicate how many of those users paid for Xbox Live Gold instead of the free Xbox Live Silver membership.) It also said hardware revenues were down an unspecified amount, and blamed the decrease on falling sales of Xbox 360 consoles.

PlayStation 4 significantly outsold the Xbox One to start this console generation, and the gap between the two has been projected to increase significantly in the coming years.

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Latest comments (9)

Craig Page El Presidente, Awesome Enterprises6 years ago
1. This is brilliant!!
2. Is it legal for a publicly traded corporation to hide information like this?
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James Coote Independent Game Developer 6 years ago
Makes sense. Since Xbox Live will be on Windows 10 PC's, phones/tablets and presumably Windows 10 powered smart TV's in the future, may be this is another step towards consoles evolving from being dedicated boxes you play games on, to services that run across a range of devices
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 6 years ago
Surely the best way to do it would be both sales and engagement? One without the other is a little pointless, I think - no point measuring engagement if you don't know how many have been sold, and no point in measuring sales data if all those XBones are just sitting gathering dust because everyone's bought a PS4.

Obviously, MS themselves will have access to both internally, but do third-party pubs/devs have access to that info? It seems like it might be useful.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 24th October 2015 10:46am

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Show all comments (9)
Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 6 years ago
James, it would be nice if things did evolve that way, but I'm not seeing it happen. I still have my Live account, and it does keep track of my achievements in a few PC games, but it's certainly not contributing to my gaming experience in any significant way. I think the last time I encountered it was to notice that I had a few achievements in the new Windows 10 Minesweeper. (And that "engaged" me or a half hour a day for, oh, three or four whole days.)

Even Sony's doing better in that at least they've got the Vita as well as the PS4 platform set up to let me chat with my friends, see what they're playing, and so on. Even without a PS4, my Vita still ties me in a least a little bit with my friends in that community.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 6 years ago
Hmmm. What if you don't use Xbox Live because you don't own an Xbox One and still use your 360 offline to play a ton of games? You don't count at all to Microsoft, I guess. ;P
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Aleksi Ranta Category Management Project Manager 6 years ago
The console figures are nothing much to flaunt about. I wouldnt be giving out the figures either. The Xbox revenue is down for MS and with sony saying they have atleast 70% market share in all EU countries, i would keep my communication to a minimum. Probably just divulge information to business partners if/when needed, under an NDA :)
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Nicholas Lovell Founder, Gamesbrief6 years ago
The shift to engagement metrics makes some sense: hardware metrics show Microsoft against Sony or (ouch) Apple. Meanwhile, there is a definite shift towards thinking about customers as the heart of your business, not products, and MAU is part of that shift.

Equally, people who own an Xbox but don't log on aren't terribly valuable to Microsoft in the long term (hmmm, might need further research about percentage of Xbox users who have *never* joined Xbox Live.)

But for the metrics to be really meaningful, just usage isn't enough. We need better conversion and ARPPU figures. I would like to think that MS beats most mobile and possibly even PC F2P businesses on those metrics. But maybe it doesn't. Time to dive into those financial reports.
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Mats Holm Battlefront Producer, Electronic Arts6 years ago
This makes a lot of sense in the new MS. The transition between 360 and One we saw how flawed the install base numbers a really are. Active users is also a KPI that allows for more versatility on drawing back lapsed customers as well as drawing in new ones.
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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 6 years ago
Well, it does depend on how you define "active users." Minesweeper is still in my Start menu on Windows 10, and once in a while (when I scroll down that far) I occasionally see the box showing something about new achievements I could be working on. I'm guessing that Windows or the game or whatever displays that little box is signing in to Xbox Live to find out that information, so does this make me an "active user," or even a "daily user," even though I've not actually played a game that connects to Xbox Live for weeks?

I'm all for reporting engagement stats, but there's nothing in MS's presentation that says anything about the engagement of their Xbox Live users, just that they're "active" in some undefined sense of the term.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Curt Sampson on 27th October 2015 3:45pm

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