‘Anyone Can Figure Out Sony Have Sold More Consoles Than We Have,’ Xbox Head Phil Spencer Says

Spencer sounds off candidly on a number of issues.

Posted By | On 30th, Jun. 2016 Under News | Follow This Author @Pramath1605


A lot of the times, people look at Microsoft’s reticence when it comes to sharing sales numbers for the Xbox One as a tacit and implicit admission of defeat- that Microsoft don’t want to explicitly acknowledge that they are being outsold by the PS4, and sharing sales numbers would put that truth out there.

It’s a theory that I have personally subscribed to myself, no matter how many times Xbox head Phil Spencer has insisted otherwise- the suspicious timing of just when Microsoft stopped sharing numbers lines up too neatly, you see.

But in a recent interview with Giant Bomb during E3 (site link here), Xbox head Phil Spencer made the clearest and strongest argument that he has made yet for why he personally feels that monthly average users is a more meaningful statistic for him and for how he conducts business, and why it has nothing to do with Sony beating them when it comes to the install base.

“When we talk about the health of the Xbox business right now, we talk about this thing called monthly average users,” Spencer said. “And I know there’s a lot of snark about that, that I’m just trying to dodge the install base number versus the install base for the PlayStation 4. But you know, I think anybody with a calculator can figure out they’ve sold more consoles than we have,” he admitted, rather candidly.

“But when I think about the health of our business, it’s how many people are playing games, connecting, buying games obviously, from a business standpoint. And I’ll get the Twitter comments, ‘thanks for putting all your games on PC, now I don’t have to buy Xbox One,’ and I’m more of the sentiment, ‘thanks for playing our games.'”

Spencer went on to add that he does not think that the PC market truly cannibalizes the Xbox market- he thinks that there is little to no overlap in those two spheres, and that the difference in between playing on a PC and playing on an Xbox is enough that there will always be a market for both.

“I think the experience of playing on consoles, there’s a uniqueness to that, I hit a button, a sound plays back, it boots up into the UI that’s meant to be controlled with a controller, it’s playing on my TV 10 feet away or so… that’s a different experience than playing on a PC, not better or worse, just different,” he said.

“As Microsoft, we care a ton about Windows, and gaming on Windows is something that my team is very focused on now. So I looked at the health of both of those, and said if we get into this world where as an Xbox business, we look at people playing games on Windows as detrimental to our Xbox business, we’re never going to do a good job. I lived through that, that was called Games For Windows Live.”

Spencer went on to outline the problem with Games for Windows Live. “The problem with GFWL was, the Xbox team looked at those Windows users and went, ‘hmmm, how can we get them to buy an Xbox?’ And I don’t want to be about that. So if I then put out ‘hey, how are we doing on a unit basis versus PlayStation,’ then I’m reinforcing something that isn’t how we’re doing business on a fundamental level. The fundamental level, this is about building the best games we can, and I loved our lineup this year and next year, and continuing to build out features on Xbox Live.”

I can certainly understand what he is saying now- and as a principled argument that he is making, it does answer my primary beef with his stance so far, which is, why not share both? But it sounds like Spencer is indicating that he is taking a hardlined, idealistic stand on this one.

And hey, he’s doing a great job, so if that’s the road he wants to take, he’s more than welcome to.

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  • -youjustgotburned-

    “the difference in between playing on a PC and playing on an Xbox is enough that there will always be a market for both.”

    and rightfully so.

    • Mark


    • Mr Xrat

      And the PC players will be using that Xbox network at no cost.

      With that in mind, we all know who the Xbox market is at this point.

    • -youjustgotburned-

      Save it Mr. Trollrat. Your snarky remarks are as irrelevant as your existence. Its a given that those who play on PC will have the service for free since its an open platform. PS4 owners, minus the free to play games ( one of the best thing done by Sony ) are in the same boat, PC players dont need to pay to play online.

    • JuneMas

      Yes you are using Xbox live on the PC end for free, however there aren’t nearly as many first party titles as there are third party and others. PC users will get all Microsoft developed games. The thing is I play on X1 with my brothers and cousins who don’t live in my state and it’s a huge variety of games with barely any being a Microsoft game.

  • Doggystyle

    “I think anybody with a calculator can figure out that we’ve tried to screw over more people than Sony have. Take Xbox Fitness, and the recent loss of some Kinect functionality for example,…eff those people.”

    • kma99

      Stop crying. You wasn’t using that function and i doubt you even own an xbox. You’re just finding something to complain about. Why not complain about sony taking away ustream.

    • Doggystyle

      LOL, Ustream still exists outside PSN, and I never paid one red cent for Ustream. Are you mad, bro?

    • kma99

      And you never paid one cent for xbox fitness yet you’re here complaining. Anyone can see past your trolling.

    • Jonathan Wallace

      Meh, very few people care – which is why they felt they should do this. When you have a stale and/or unprofitable division, you either revamp it, or cut it out. This way, you focus your resources on the way more important stuff.

      I say this as a Kinect owner who purchased Insanity on Xbox Fitness. I still don’t really care! I still have another year to use what I purchased (until July 2017 I think it was said), and I am still guessing they’ll later announce that I can download the videos or something to use outside of the service. Spencer has been pretty good about things so far, I doubt he will randomly handle this poorly.

      Oh and about the Kinect functionality…even less people care about that. All we lost was the “ability” to use gestures to navigate, and it was BY FAR the slowest way to do ANYTHING on your console. Voice commands and/or the controller are waaay faster than that. So who cares, we weren’t using it anyways.

  • theduckofdeath

    He won’t say “radical Islam,” either!

  • Jonathan Wallace

    I think it is totally obvious why they don’t report the sales numbers: Marketing and PR!

    People are already obsessed with “console wars” so in my opinion, taking away some of the fuel for the fire is a great idea. Back when the numbers were released, they were accompanied by hundreds of articles all saying “SNY W1NS – XBONE AND M$SFT BE FAILIN” – and it was always idiotic.

    Let me just reiterate something that can’t be said often enough with regard to consoles these days…EVERYONE CAN WIN! That’s right, Xbox, Playstation, Wii, they can all be successful despite only one of them (Sony) holding the lead on sales. Ok good, now we can all move on.

    • Mark



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