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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Comments (13)

13 responses to “Microsoft Puts Up Some Big Xbox Numbers”

  1. matsan

    So much hot air... just give us a real number!

  2. spiderman2

    but but nobody wants Xbox

  3. dilettante

    What do they consider a "launch month"? If they mean the month of November, every other Xbox system launched later in the month than the Series X|S, so those numbers might not mean much.

  4. thretosix

    I'm sure as availability of the Series S|X become more available it will only get better. The Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is probably the best deal in gaming you can get. There's several great games including first party titles down the road and the acquisition of Zenimax/Bethesda was a great move. I'm looking forward to this generation.

  5. remc86007

    It's interesting that Microsoft hasn't been able to outsell Sony pretty dramatically because of the Series S. The die size of the chip in the Series S is super small and likely has extremely good yields. I guess either the component shortages must go beyond the CPU/GPU or Microsoft was unable to reserve enough fab space.

    • b6gd

      In reply to remc86007:

      The die six is smaller if its a SOC (?) but the CPU portion of that is the same size at the XSX, so if it's a CPU yield issue the XSS will have the same issue.


      Then there is the weird fact that the Xbox One X has more RAM (12 vs 10) and a better GPU (6TF vs 4TF) but a weaker CPU. I went from a Xbox One X to a XSX. I would not have considered the XSS as an upgrade over the Xbox One X. In fact I was using an external 2TB Samsung T5 on my X1X with all of the games installed on it, so I had SSD speed for gaming loading. It made moving my games to the XSX super easy as well.


      I think this round Xbox will do much better against Sony. Sony is living off of momentum. The exclusives argument always comes up yet probably 98% of console gamers spend 85% or more of their gaming time on multi-platform games. Between Game pass (with EA) getting better and better and Microsoft acquiring some big name game studios, I think their exclusives will start to rival Sony's.

      • remc86007

        In reply to b6gd: I agree with most of what you said. I think the Series S makes a lot of sense as a 1080p box and the compromises make a lot of sense. Looking at a die shot of the XBSX SOC, it looks like the GPU portion takes up roughly 5x the space as the CPU, so the reduction in die size from Series X to S would be pretty dramatic. We also can assume the reduction in size is large because of the price difference. I'd guess Microsoft is paying around $150 less per SOC for the Series S part vs the Series X part. My intuitively makes sense that a linear reduction of die size causes an exponential increase in yield.


  6. sjgibb99

    I haven't seen the Series X in stock in the UK since launch day in November, when I couldn't get online stores to stay working long enough to make a purchase as they wobbled under the demand. At this rate I'll be lucky to get one before the end of summer. :-/

  7. skyczy08

    I got called by EB Games last week to tell me my Xbox Series X was ready. I looked at the next gen games, didn't see any, then called them back to decline. They actually wanted me to also buy the thing for $699 bundle that included a headset I didn't want. Talk about making a bad deal worse! And it was a bundle, with no games. Like WTF? Are they .C.R.A.Z.Y. ?!?!?! Pound sand

  8. jamJAR

    Went from the Xbox one to the Xbox series X, very pleased with it. TV takes longer to start then the XBox now.

    Got it with a 2 year Game Pass Ultimate subscription.

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