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We've all heard the term "aim high," and it's generally considered a good thing to be ambitious, but it sounds like the folks at Microsoft were a bit too hopeful when it came to original plans for the Xbox One.
The folks over at Stevivor recently had a chat with Xbox head Phil Spencer, who had a few surprising things to reveal about the initial expectations of Microsoft's current home console, the Xbox One. The interview specifically focuses on the Xbox brand before and after Spencer took over and, from the sounds of things, he helped get folks' heads out of the stratosphere.
As for sales of the Xbox One, original expectations were astronomical.
The goal that the team had was to figure out how could we sell 200 million game consoles. We've never seen a console sell that many units. The biggest individual console, the PS2, did 120 million or something like that.
So, yeah, that's a pretty insane number. And you've got to remember that the gaming landscape has changed a lot since then. The PlayStation 2 was a mega-hit during what many consider to be a golden age of console gaming, as well as a time when console gaming was still a massive market in Japan. But not only has console gaming dropped off in Japan, but Microsoft's machines have never had a foothold there. So, in essence, the Xbox team hoped to top the PS2 by a sound margin despite the fact that it had all of those factors working against it.
Again, there's nothing wrong with big goals but, realistically, it's kind of baffling to think that anyone had the Xbox One pegged for selling 200 million consoles.
After Q1 2016, the Xbox One had climbed to over 20 million units sold. The Xbox One S has seriously boosted the console's sales in Europe but, even then, chances are that the console is less than a quarter of the way toward its lofty original goal. And that's a solid two years into its life cycle. We absolutely expect it to climb higher and higher but, barring a miracle or a price drop to $100, it's unlikely the console will get anywhere near that 200 million unit goal.
This is part of the reason Spencer said he looks at the Xbox division as having two eras; the one before him and the one after him. It's clear that some changes needed to be made, what with insane sales projections and initial Xbox One "features" that nearly tanked the console before it ever hit store shelves.
According to Spencer, one of his greatest contributions to correcting the course of the Xbox One was refocusing the console's vision. Rather than worry about trying to become the hub of a living room, Spencer wanted to put the attention back on making a great game console. Once he got the ball rolling, we've seen marked improvements for the Xbox One...Just maybe not improvements that will move an insane number of consoles.