Microsoft has no plans to publicly confirm how many console units of Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S are sold worldwide. Microsoft will stick to that decision even if its next-generation console lineup leaves PlayStation 5 in the dust.
Speaking with The Guardian (via VGC) in a recent interview, Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, stated that Microsoft will only publicly confirm the number of monthly players on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S as well as Xbox-related services such as Xbox Game Pass when going forward.
“The primary outcome of all the work that we do is how many players we see, and how often they play,” said Spencer. “If I start to highlight something else, both publicly and internally, it changes our focus. Things that lack backwards compatibility become less interesting. Putting our games on PC becomes a reason that somebody doesn’t have to go and buy an Xbox Series X.
“I’ll hold fast to this. 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.”
Microsoft stopped sharing console sales figures for Xbox One fairly early in the last console generation. From around 2016 forward the only insight into how many console units were sold were obtained through third-party sources. Even today Microsoft has not offered any substantial breakdown in regard to Xbox One and Xbox One X sales numbers.
Microsoft hence plans to continue on with the same radio silence. It was previously thought that Sony Interactive Entertainment taking a lead with PlayStation 4 was a major reason why Microsoft shied away from sharing its own sales figures. Spencer though has clearly put it out that even if the roles are reversed in the years to come, Microsoft will still not be publicly disclosing how many Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S consoles were sold worldwide.
Spencer reiterated the same notion a few months ago as well. He stated then that Microsoft has no interest in being part of a console war. If that was a goal then Microsoft would be keeping new games exclusive to Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. Microsoft instead wants to make sure that players have the choice to access new games and new content however they want. This covers both generation of consoles, PC, as well as through services like Project xCloud and Xbox Game Pass.