Microsoft had a strong last quarter to the year with growth of eight per cent in gaming revenue. It primarily attributed that to sales of the new Xbox One X console and to growth in Xbox Live and the new Xbox Game Pass.
Xbox One X was a big success for the company, giving it back a sense of hardware superiority that has been notably lacking since the start of the Xbox One generation. With the One X pushing hardware revenue up by 14 per cent year-on-year.
However, growth was tempered by a lack of triple-A launches compared with the previous year. “Xbox software services revenue grew 4 percent from continued momentum in digital distribution, partially offset by prior year first-party triple-A title launches.”
It looks as though Microsoft is prioritising ongoing services over one-off game sales, though, with the recent announcement that all its first-party games will be on the Xbox Game Pass service day-and-date. And that looks to working, at least in raw user numbers: “Xbox Live monthly active user grew 7 percent to 59 million with continued growth across Xbox One, Windows 10, and mobile platforms.”
"Our new Xbox One X was the top selling premium console this holiday in the U.S., and we saw strong sales of the Xbox One S. We will continue to innovate in console to attract high value gamers who want immersive, 4K experiences, to build a broader subscription service with Game Pass, and to extend our services to all the devices in our customers’ lives across console, PC and mobile," Satya Nadella.
Off the back of these results things are looking up, there’s also a new man, Matt Booty, in charge of first-party development, record numbers playing Minecraft, Sea of Thieves’ successful recent beta test and Xbox Game Pass making its own kind of waves. Xbox is looking somewhat resurgent at present.
Yes, Sony’s strategy has played out better over the generation, but as has so often been the case in the past, it’s the platform that’s behind, which then takes chances, that often pay off hugely.