Sections

Xbox Series X|S is biggest console launch in Microsoft's history

Update: And 70% of Xbox Series X and S consoles are attached to Xbox Game Pass memberships

Original story November 12, 2020: The Series X and S enjoyed the biggest Xbox launch to date.

That's according to Xbox boss Phil Spencer, who revealed via Twitter that the next-generation devices had sold more units combined -- and in more countries -- than any previous Microsoft console.

"Thank you for supporting the largest launch in Xbox history," he wrote. "We're working with retail to resupply as quickly as possible. You continue to show us the connective power of play is more important than ever."

There's no indication as to which model sold the most units -- and a recent interview with Spencer suggests we're unlikely to get solid sales figures from Xbox any time soon.

Microsoft stopped publicly sharing sales figures early in the Xbox One's lifecycle and, speaking to The Guardian, the Xbox boss said he still doesn't want his team's focus to be on console sales.

"The primary outcome of all the work that we do is how many players we see, and how often they play," he said. "That is what drives Xbox.

"If I start to highlight something else, both publicly and internally, it changes our focus. Things that lack backwards compatibility become less interesting. Putting our games on PC becomes a reason that somebody doesn't have to go and buy an Xbox Series X. I'll hold fast to this.

"We publicly disclose player numbers. That's the thing I want us to be driven by, not how many individual pieces of plastic did we sell."

Spencer also said Microsoft still won't release sales figures if the Xbox Series X|S ends up outselling the PlayStation 5, pointing to the approach Google, Amazon and Facebook take as they ramp up their games initiatives.

"I'm not going to go compete with their numbers based on how many Xbox Series X I've sold," he said. "[Google] is never going to talk about how many Chromecast Pros they sold. They're going to talk about how many players they have.

"I think the people who want to put us against Sony based on who sold the most consoles lost the context of what gaming is about today. There are three billion people who play games on the planet today, but maybe [only] 200 million households that have a video game console.

"In a way, the console space is becoming a smaller and smaller percentage of the overall gaming pie."

Update November 13, 2020: In a blog post today, Microsoft also revealed the stat that 70% of Xbox Series X and S consoles were attached to either new or existing Xbox Game Pass memberships.

Additional reporting by Rebekah Valentine

More stories

Xbox experimenting with how to pay studios for Game Pass "because we don't think we have it figured out"

Phil Spencer also decries console fan tribalism as "one of the worst things about our industry"

By James Batchelor

The $70 AAA price point -- it's about time | Opinion

No consumer is going to be enthused about a price rise, but 15 years of $60 has done no favours to either gamers or creators

By Rob Fahey

Latest comments

There are no comments on this article yet. Why not be the first to post one?

Sign in to contribute

Need an account? Register now.