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Xbox’s Declining Console Sales


In 2023, Europe’s figures have declined

Isn’t there some crazy drama surrounding Europe’s recent console sales figures? reported on this earlier this week, claiming that Xbox Series X|S sales in the region are “struggling.” While there are certainly other factors at work here, such as the data missing key European markets like the UK, should we be surprised by statistics like these?

For months, if not years, Microsoft has shifted its focus away from console sales and toward services, player engagement, and simply running a profitable business with Xbox. According to team members, business is good, even if it does not always translate directly into console sales. Based on the direct competition, these recent figures appear stark, but Microsoft has all but admitted defeat in pure hardware sales.

Sure, Xbox has already ‘lost the console wars’ in terms of pure unit sales, but how important will that be in 2023? It’s still spending ridiculous amounts of money on acquisitions to grow the Xbox brand, and Microsoft admitted years ago that it never really makes money on console sales anyway. Sure, everyone wants to sell what they’re making, but Microsoft’s gaming division isn’t just making Xbox Series X|S these days. 

Xbox Series Consoles

With the Activision Blizzard acquisition, the broader meaning of the term “Xbox” has become even clearer. While Microsoft and Sony were arguing, we got to see some absolutely bizarre documents, including one in which Microsoft admitted to being third in console sales. Because of the team’s mobile reach, King has always been an important part of the ActiBlizz deal – and Xbox’s continued pursuit of the company in the face of intense scrutiny shows Microsoft understands which battles it should now fight.

That deal goes even further to demonstrate that getting people to play on Xbox consoles is no longer the end goal. As part of Xbox’s commitment to franchises like Call of Duty, the team is happy to continue releasing those games on other platforms. Phil Spencer says he welcomes Call of Duty fans on PlayStation, and the Xbox owner even says the company is starting to treat Nintendo and PlayStation users as “part of the Xbox community.”

Do we believe that Xbox wants its console sales to fall? No, absolutely not, but it has long been aware that ‘catching up’ in that regard will be extremely difficult. Microsoft has been struggling to keep up in console sales for some time, but Xbox will be overjoyed if and when it begins to make more money than PlayStation after ActiBlizz figures are factored in.