Microsoft Puts Up Some Big Xbox Numbers

Posted on January 27, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Xbox, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X with 13 Comments

Microsoft still doesn’t reveal how well its consoles are selling, but the firm posted strong Xbox Live and Xbox Game Pass numbers in the most recent quarter.

“The launch of the Xbox Series X and Series S was the most successful in our history, with the most devices ever sold in a launch month,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in his post-earnings conference call comments. “We are gaining console share, as gamers recognize the value of our broader ecosystem.”

OK, so no hard numbers. It’s been that way for over 6 years.

But there were some new numbers. Mr. Nadella also pointed out that the total Xbox Live subscriber base had surpassed 100 million monthly active users, but he didn’t delineate between paying (Xbox Live Gold) and non-paying users.

And Xbox Game Pass, overall—remember, it consists of a family of three different subscriptions at various price levels—surpassed 18 million subscribers, up from 15 million in the previous sequential quarter.

Overall, Xbox had a fantastic quarter, but then of course it did: Microsoft launched two new consoles in the quarter for the first time ever, and in its first major console launch since 2013. And 2020 will go down as that one outlier on the video gaming growth chart, with gaming sales skyrocketing thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

And Microsoft did supply a bit of data about its videogame business overall. Gaming revenue was up 51 percent year-over-year (YOY). Xbox content and services revenues were up 40 percent YOY. This growth will continue for the short term as Microsoft meets overwhelming demand for the hard-to-find new consoles. Microsoft expects gaming revenue growth in the current quarter to hit roughly 40 percent, with Xbox content and services revenue in the mid-20 percent range.

Also interesting is how Nadella tried to paint this one-off time-period as some kind of broader consumer strategy and presence.

“We are pleased with the overall growth in our consumer subscriptions,” he said. “With Game Pass and more than 47 million Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscribers, we have a large and growing consumer subscription business. And we see significant growth opportunity in both these segments as they move to services and on-demand models.”

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