"The number one thing that's going to dictate how many consoles we sell is not the competition and it's not a Halo or a launch lineup. It's going to be how many units we can build."

Next-gen console wars will be an issue of supply, not demand says Phil Spencer

The initial sales of the Xbox Series  X|S vs the Playstation 5 will not be the true measure of their popularity, according to Xbox boss Phil Spencer.

In a wide-ranging interview with Shacknews, Spencer commented on people’s habit to attribute a “winner and loser” in the console wars down to hardware sales.

“I just disregard that,” said Spencer “Frankly, this holiday, supply is going to dictate how many consoles are sold more than demand.

“That battle is not going to be a reflection of demand — it’ll be a reflection of supply.

“But also it’s really about finding more players, and any business that’s growing to scale, whether you’re in the games business or not right now, in the consumer space is how do you go reach more and more customers? There are about 200 million console households on the planet, whether they have an Xbox or a PlayStation or some combination of those. That’s the total addressable market for console players.”

Spencer also addressed the delay of Halo Infinite, admitting that Microsoft had of course wanted that available at the console’s launch, but defended the decision to delay the game.

“I wanted Halo Infinite at launch; there was no doubt about that,” said Spencer,” and we thought there would have been a special seminal moment because the last time we shipped a Halo and a console at the same time was the original Xbox. When Bonnie [Ross, head of Halo Infinite developer 343 Studios] and I were talking about it, there was something heartfelt about those two things coming together. But the safety and health of the team has got to be first and foremost, and then the quality of the game. Those things have to win over anything else.”

However, the impact on Halo missing the console’s launch window was balanced out by the insufficient supply for both the PS5 and the Xbox Series X|S.

“I know there’ll be press that will want to write, “Xbox launch lineup versus PS5 launch lineup.” But if they’re both sold out completely, I’m not sure the launch lineup had much impact on anything other than maybe some review score. It’s not going to dictate what, how many consoles we sell. The number one thing that’s going to dictate how many consoles we sell is not the competition and it’s not a Halo or a launch lineup. It’s going to be how many units we can build.”

About Chris Wallace

Chris is a freelancer writer and was MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer from November 2019 until May 2022. He joined the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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