Windows and Devices by the Numbers

Posted on July 21, 2020 by Brad Sams in Windows with 20 Comments

On June 30th, Microsoft closed the books on their FY20 fiscal year which brought the closure of Mixer, a re-org, and many other changes to the corporation. At the company’s Inspire conference today, Microsoft shined a little bit of light into the sales of Windows 10 devices last year.

The company announced earlier this year that they had 1 billion Windows 10 monthly active devices and at Inspire, they stated that in FY20 175 million Windows devices shipped and of that figure, about 26 million were gaming PCs.

Further, the company says that 47% of the devices were “Modern PCs” which I believe means they were 2:1 devices.

From time to time, Microsoft provides these insights but for me, the big takeaway was the breakout of the gaming PCs shipped. When you look at the news earlier this week that Sea of Thieves passed 1 million sales on Steam, the picture becomes clear why Microsoft is bringing Xbox games to both its console and desktop hardware.

While the PS4 has crossed the 100 million threshold last year, if Microsoft includes gaming PCs into its mix of targets for its exclusive content, then it becomes quite clear that the company has a large audience for potential sales that dwarfs Sony’s offering.

This explains why Microsoft is bringing the PC and Xbox closer together. It’s an obvious statement in hindsight but with Xbox+PC being a single demographic for the company, this makes it easier to pitch the idea of spending hundreds of millions (or billions) on game studios.

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Comments (20)

20 responses to “Windows and Devices by the Numbers”

  1. reefer2

    Microsoft bragging about "modern" PCs reminiscens me about grandpa trying to be "hip".

  2. maciek

    So I guess Steam is probably a bigger rival to Xbox than PlayStation is...

  3. chump2010

    "if Microsoft includes gaming PCs into its mix of targets for its exclusive content"

    It will no longer be exclusive lol. They may as well just release to the playstation as well and make their mind up. Are they in the games studio business - in which case you want to capture as many platforms as possible, or the games console market - in which case they want their games to be exclusive to their own console in order to drive sales of consoles.

    " It’s an obvious statement in hindsight but with Xbox+PC being a single demographic for the company"

    What do you mean by in hindsight? Surely any company knows that if you sell your product to a bigger population, your going to get more sales? No hindsight required. No foresight required. Just plain simple economics. If a company as big as Microsoft, has not grasped that in decades of being around, they have serious management issues.

    • Jonas Barkå

      In reply to chump2010:

      They are in the game ecosystem market. They do not care if you play on Windows or Xbox, which both are their platforms anyway. And as long as you pay for GamePass they are happy to have you play on Android.

      And even Sony's goal is not primarily to sell lots of consoles, it is the game sales that generate most of the profit.

      The exclusives matter as they pull gamers into the ecosystem, where they will also spend money on other stuff.

    • Vladimir Carli

      In reply to chump2010:

      I think Microsoft made the choice of not using XBox exclusives to drive Xbox sales several years ago. For once, I think it was the right choice. Trying to emulate sony with console exclusives would not have worked

  4. Koshy

    What is a 2:1 device?

  5. Stooks

    With the advent of cross play and keyboard mouse on consoles, the Microsoft gaming solution is quite broad. Basically they have all of the bases covered from the Xbox One S, X, series X and gaming PC's at the top.

    I guess the only thing that could slow them down is Xbox Console exclusives that are on the console but not offered on the PC. This would be 3rd party games of course since everything Microsoft is making is Xbox/PC. I am not even sure if their are console only games that run on the Xbox but not the PC??

    I play COD on the PC with cross play enabled. In the lobby you can see who is running what based on the icon. I would say PS4 is the overall winner right now in those lobbies with Xbox and PC making up less than half of each of the average rounds in that game.

  6. Jim Lewis

    Yep. Just to illustrate that one can indeed get interested in spending large sums of money: My latest PC is a Dell XPS 8930 Special Edition with an i9-9900K with all cores overclocked to 4.7 GHz, 32 Gb RAM, an NVidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super with 8 Gb RAM (I considered an Alienware Ryzen-based PC but it would have been more expensive, required liquid cooling, etc). I got the PC for machine learning purposes but it ~meets the ideal specs for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020. Unfortunately, I was cheap and only got the Dell with a 512 Gb NVMe system drive and the minimum PC install for any level of Flight Simulator 2020 is 150 Gb and on an SSD for ideal 4K performance. So I bought a 1 Tb Samsung 970 EVO Plus NVMe SSD (now $180 on Amz). The Dell 8930 only has one NVMe slot that the system drive is in so I put the Samsung drive on a $16 Yateng NVMe to PCIE x4 board and stuck it in the one free Gen 3 x4 PCIE slot in my new computer. Just with the Microsoft NVMe driver (not yet tried the Samsung NVMe driver), the Samsung SSD outperforms my system drive but only achieves about 90% of its advertised specs-3500/3300 MB/s seq. read/write (I was moving the mouse while I ran the benchmarks - not sure I want to benchmark too often - looks like the benchmarking consumed quite a few Gb of write life, unless part of that was shop-testing before the product shipped - Samsung Magician says 100 Gb written, the lifetime is 600 TBW). At any rate if FS 2020 is as good as it looks in YouTube videos, I'll consider whether I want to spend hundreds of $$$$ for a yoke, throttle, and rudder pedals. I basically want to be able to "fly" anywhere in the world and see the sights in super realistic 4K detail along with Live Weather, etc. A great review of FS 2020 is by GripperSim, a licensed flying instructor for 16 years and someone who has played every version of Microsoft Flight Simulator since the original version back when it was put out by Sublogic in 1982 (my last sim experience was with FS back around 2000 and X-Wing in the early 1990's). So for an in-depth 32 minute review, search YouTube for "Flight Simulator 2020 | Top 10 features | Full Preview from Pilot."

    Just from watching YouTube videos on FS and X-Plane 11 (the simulator that's been rated as the best before FS2020), it's amazing the money dyed-in-the-wool gamers spend on stuff. One YouTube presentation shows a setup to simulate a cockpit for X-Plane 11 in which the guy uses FOUR 55" 4K displays to simulate a 180-degree wrap-around view out of cockpit windows - not to mention his chair, sound system, flight controls, cockpit instrumentation, etc. There is money to be made (and spent) in them thar gaming hills .... Something that you are not going to get out of your iPhone. Search YouTube on "Cessna 172 Home Flight Simulator | Xplane 11" for an amazing rig, illustrating how far you can go beyond a gaming PC or any console ....

    My biggest disappointment in spending PC gaming money to help enrich Microsoft and its gaming partners is that FS 2020 does not yet support VR. GripperSim's speculation is the simulation so taxes system requirements that there probably is no VR headset that can yet provide the computing power/fps rate needed to make FS 2020 work great in a VR headset. But flight simulators are IDEAL for VR because the pilot remains stationary, except for head and eye movements and modest hand and foot movements at the controls. So if Microsoft or its partners come out with a great VR headset for high-performance 4K use of FS 2020, they might make another $1K to $2K off me, depending on what else the headset is good for (whether it does AR, too?).

    BTW, GripperSim's emphasizes that MS is aiming the FS 2020 squarely at newbies to gaming. You get the basic edition of FS 2020 free with Xbox Game Pass for PC (beta). And unlike X-Plane 11, the high resolution detail of the whole planet and many hand-crafted aircraft and airports come free with the basic game, not expensive extras as for X-Plane 11. And a lot of users might be folks like me who don't have much interest in learning about flying and aircraft details but just want to see exotic parts of the world in super-realistic living detail and it's a safer way to "fly" than in real life with the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing....

    Oh, yeah.... Did I say Flight Simulator 2020 is a showcase for Azure? 2 petabytes of world data streamed to you at 50 Mbps (or you can download what you need in advance if you have a slow Internet connection but want 4K high performance. Otherwise, you have to have at least a 5 Mbps Internet connection to run the lowest simulation level. And if Microsoft doesn't yet have the code guts in place for the JEDI contract, I would imagine that they can just run FS 2020 before the brass to let them know what they can expect when Microsoft really gets going on that project.

    • Greg Green

      In reply to Jim_Lewis:

      They make usb-nvme adapters, check Amazon or NewEgg. Plug your 1tb into the adapter and into the usb plug, then use Samsung migration tool to move your OS to the 1tb. Swap nvmes and you’re in like Flynn.

  7. madthinus

    The amount of gaming pc’s shipped last year equals half the whole Xbox One population. PC gaming is huge.

    • olditpro2000

      In reply to madthinus:

      I wasn't aware the gaming PC market was that big either.

      • Vladimir Carli

        In reply to OldITPro2000:

        Of course it’s huge. Otherwise, how why do you think nvidia makes tons of money? Or the flourishing market of gaming gear? Everyone who is serious about gaming uses a PC or wants a pc but gets a console as a cheaper alternative. I think the main driver is the availability of peripherals, dedicated input controls, VR. This scenario will change if sony and Microsoft allow the use of standard gaming gear on consoles. For now, it doesn’t look like that and one is limited to the xbox and ps controllers, which are not great

        • ponsaelius

          In reply to Vladimir:

          I thought Nvidia made money out of Bitcoin miners....

        • Paul Thurrott

          NVIDIA now earns as much revenue from datacenters ($1.1 billion the most recent quarter) as it does from gaming ($1.34 billion), and that part of the business is growing rapidly whereas its gaming business was down 10 percent. In other words, it's tracking to be the next Intel, where most of its money will come from the cloud and not from PCs.
        • olditpro2000

          In reply to Vladimir:

          Huge, sure, but I figured it was low to mid teens huge, not mid twenties huge.

          • Vladimir Carli

            In reply to OldITPro2000:

            As far as I remember there are twice as many PC gamers of all console gamers combined. Of course there is a lot of overlap as there are many people who own a gaming PC and a console. In these regards, Microsoft’s play anywhere strategy is excellent and I wish more games would adopt it. I think it would really push xbox adoption

  8. blue77star

    What happened to other half of billion PC not running Windows 10? I am not sure that we can call 2:1 modern PCs, there is really nothing modern about them. 1 milion sales on Steam tells me that PC Desktop market is really important.

  9. ngc224

    I’d guess Surface “Duo” will be a capable, handheld gaming device.

    • Vladimir Carli

      In reply to ngc224:

      With two separate screens and a hinge in the middle? I am not really sure... It will be interesting to see. I am sure it will be possible to design amazing games that support the double screen, but who is going to do that?

  10. Greg Green

    For those discussing gaming,, pc gaming is still in third place. According to NewZoo

    mobile gaming is $77b (phone $63b, tablet $13b), 48% of gaming revenues

    console gaming is $45b, 28% of revenue

    pc gaming is $39b, 23% of revenue