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In their latest fiscal report, Microsoft didn't mention how many Xbox One consoles they've shipped in the past quarter. The company says that's because sales aren't as important to them.
The company told Game Informer that they "will not be using console shipments as its primary metric for success" moving forward. Instead, they consider Xbox Live usage to be a more important statistic. As you might expect, this statistic is favorable for them. They note that 39 million logged into Xbox Live last month, an increase of 28%.
The Xbox Live usage statistic is a bit vague as well. It doesn't mention how many of these 39 million users are paying for a Gold subscription. This is an important breakdown to know. It's a matter of millions of dollaes.
Microsoft's decision not to report sales figures at all this quarter is no shock. They've been tight-lipped about Xbox One's sales since day one. I think the last time they actually updated us on the console's total sales was last November when they said 10 million units had been shipped. That statistic itself doesn't tell us much. That merely says how many consoles were sent to retailers, not how many were actually bought by consumers.
It's not hard to see why they wouldn't announce sales numbers regularly. Any sales numbers for Xbox One are going to be measured against sales of PlayStation 4, currently the top-selling system of the generation. Even if Xbox One sold a huge amount in a month, the accomplishment is diminished if PS4 managed to top them that month. If Xbox One "won" the month, then everyone would just say, "Well, PS4 still has higher overall sales so whatever." Microsoft would just rather pick a statistic that paints them in a positive light.
Microsoft's far from the only video game company to selectively share statistics. Activision will tell you every stat about Destiny other than its sales. They'll say how many players have logged in, how many hours they've played and even how many combined players Destiny and Hearthstone have. EA won't say how many copies Battlefield: Hardline sold but they will say that they're "very happy" with this unknown total.
Make no mistake: these companies know how many consoles or games they're selling. If Ford can tell us how many cars they sold each month at dealers across the country down to the very unit, Microsoft can tell you how many million paying subscribers Xbox Live has. These companies just choose not to mention it because they don't have to. If they're allowed to share whatever stats they want, they're going to pick the ones that make them look the best.