Xbox boss says sharing Xbox Series X sales numbers would 'change the focus'

Xbox Series X
(Image credit: Future)

Xbox Series X launch sales may be fantastic for all we know, but Phil Spencer says you still shouldn't expect Microsoft to start celebrating those numbers.

The Xbox boss has been transparent about Microsoft's growing emphasis on engaging users wherever they want to play, especially bringing them in with subscription services such as Xbox Game Pass. In a new interview with The Guardian, Spencer explained why the company still isn't planning on sharing how many new consoles it sells as the next generation begins.

"I know it seems manipulative and I'll apologize for that, but I don't want my team's focus on [console sales]," Spencer said. "The primary outcome of all the work that we do is how many players we see, and how often they play. That is what drives Xbox.

"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."

When asked if Microsoft would start sharing numbers again in the event that, say, Xbox Series X massively outsells PS5, Spencer said  "I can promise you that I won't do that." The recent entry of massive external competitors such as Google and Amazon to the gaming space with Stadia and Luna means he has no desire to "compete with their numbers based on how many Xbox Series X I've sold".

We may not know how many pieces of plastic Microsoft's sold, but we can tell you what we think in our Xbox Series X review and Xbox Series S review.

Connor Sheridan

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.