Reaction: Should We Really Be Surprised By Declining Xbox Console Sales?

Well, there's been some mad drama surrounding Europe's recent console sales figures, hasn't there? released some info on this earlier in the week, strongly suggesting that Xbox Series X|S sales are "struggling" in the region. While there are certainly other factors in play here — like the data missing key European markets such as the UK — should we really be that surprised by stats like these?

For months, years even, Microsoft has switched gears from console sales - focusing instead on services, player engagement, and simply running a healthy business with Xbox. Comments from the team suggest that business is indeed good - despite that not always translating directly into console sales. These recent figures do look stark based on the direct competition, but Microsoft has all-but admitted defeat in pure hardware sales anyway.

Sure, Xbox may have already 'lost the console wars' when it comes to pure unit sales, but how important is that to the company in 2023? It's still spending silly amounts of money on acquisitions to grow Xbox as a brand, and years ago Microsoft admitted that it never really makes money on console sales anyway. Everyone wants to sell what they're building, sure, but it isn't just Xbox Series X|S that Microsoft's gaming division is building these days.

That broader meaning for 'Xbox' has come into even stronger focus with the Activision Blizzard deal. We got to see some absolutely crazy documents while Microsoft and Sony were bickering back and forth - where Microsoft basically admitted third place in console sales. King has always been a major part of the ActiBlizz deal due to the team's mobile reach - and Xbox's continuing pursuit of the company in the face of huge levels of scrutiny shows Microsoft understands which battles it should now fight.

That deal goes even further in showing that getting people playing on Xbox consoles isn't really the end goal anymore. As part of Xbox's commitment with franchises like Call of Duty, the team is happy to keep putting those games out on other systems. Phil Spencer says he welcomes PlayStation's Call of Duty fans - and the Xbox-owner is even saying it's starting to treat Nintendo and PlayStation users as "part of the Xbox community".

Look, do we think that Xbox wants to see its console sales drop off? No, absolutely not, but it's been aware for some time that 'catching up' in that regard will now be extremely difficult. Microsoft has struggled to keep up in console sales for some time, but Xbox will surely be happy if and when it begins making more money than PlayStation after the ActiBlizz numbers are folded in.

Do you agree that console sales aren't the focus anymore at Xbox? Drop your thoughts on all of this down below.