The new console generation might have only just launched, but it seems that we’ll never truly know the winner if Microsoft has anything to say about it.
The company has no intention of publicly disclosing the sales figures of its newly released console, according to Xbox chief Phil Spencer. During an interview with The Guardian Spencer said, “I can promise you that I won’t do that,” in response to a question about whether the company would reveal its numbers should the Xbox Series X outsell the PlayStation 5.
“I know it seems manipulative and I’ll apologise for that, but I don’t want my team’s focus on [console sales],” he said. “The primary outcome of all the work that we do is how many players we see, and how often they play. That is what drives Xbox. If I start to highlight something else, both publicly and internally, it changes our focus.”
“I’ll hold fast to this,” Spencer reiterated. “We publicly disclose player numbers. That’s the thing I want us to be driven by, not how many individual pieces of plastic did we sell.”
Spencer added that the focus for other companies that have recently thrown their hat into the gaming ring – like Google, Amazon and Facebook – has also been the players, while pointing out that those companies are also unlikely to share their sales figures. “I’m not gonna go compete with their numbers based on how many Xbox Series X I’ve sold. [Google] is never gonna talk about how many Chromecast Pros they sold. They’re gonna talk about how many players they have.”
Spencer also noted in the interview that console gaming is slowly becoming a niche in today’s gaming landscape, saying that those who compare Xbox and PlayStation based on sales numbers have “[lost] the context of what gaming is about today.”
“There are 3 billion people who play games on the planet today, but maybe [only] 200 million households that have a video game console,” he said. “In a way, the console space is becoming a smaller and smaller percentage of the overall gaming pie.”
Microsoft released the Xbox Series X, and its lower-end counterpart Series S, on November 10. On launch day, players were faced with issues on Xbox Live, which, for some users, rendered the consoles unplayable due to game verification issues.
In addition, some Xbox Series X customers have reportedly received broken consoles, with the most common issue in relation to the console’s disk drive. Users have taken to social media with videos and images of their consoles unable to accept a disc, accompanied by loud grinding noises