The head of Xbox also confirmed that Microsoft is not going to disclose exact sales figures for Series X | S, even if its consoles significantly outperform the PS5.
Phil Spencer spoke about Microsoft’s policy on Game Pass subscription service and Xbox Series X | S consoles in an interview with the British newspaper The Guardian.
According to the head of the Xbox, the popularity of Game Pass, which had about 15 million subscribers by November 2020, allows Microsoft to take creative risks and release games that, according to the company, would not pay off otherwise – for example, the episodic Tell Me Why and Microsoft Flight Simulator.
To be honest, I don’t think we would have approved the release of Tell Me Why if it wasn’t in Game Pass. This is an episodic, story-driven game – there are not many people like that now. But we knew that one of the 15 million subscribers would play it, that the Game Pass release would attract more people than a regular $ 30 release.
If Game Pass hadn’t been successful, we wouldn’t even have approved Flight Simulator. And now even Battletoads has a million players. It would be much more difficult to sell all these games exclusively in retail.
Spencer also confirmed that Microsoft’s gaming division is now focusing not on the number of consoles sold, but on the number of players in the Xbox ecosystem and how often they play.
According to Spencer, it makes no sense to count the consoles sold anymore, as the number of people addicted to video games is increasing every year, while the share of consoles in the market is decreasing.
I know that not counting consoles sold seems like manipulation, and I apologize to anyone who thinks so. But I don’t want my team to focus on selling consoles. The main result of our work is how many people play and how often they do it. That’s the driving force behind the Xbox. If I start highlighting something else, both publicly and internally, it will change our focus. […]
And I can promise that we will not disclose sales [even if Xbox Series X | S beats PS5]. Last year Google and Amazon joined the gaming industry, and this year Facebook. But I’m not going to compare Xbox Series X sales to their statistics. The same Google will never tell how many Chromecast Pro it sold. But he will tell you about how many players attracted.
In my opinion, all those who try to compare us with Sony in terms of the number of consoles sold are missing the point of what is happening in the industry right now. Today, about three billion people play games, but only 200 million households have a console. In a sense, the share of consoles in the gaming industry is getting smaller and smaller.
Microsoft released Xbox Series X | S worldwide on November 10. Phil Spencer later reported that the launch of this generation was the largest in the history of the company’s consoles. Prior to this, the record was held by Xbox One, whose sales reached a million copies per day – while the console was available at release only in 13 regions.