Microsoft's Quarterly Numbers Prove Xbox One's Worth

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Steve Anderson
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Microsoft's Quarterly Numbers Prove Xbox One's Worth

Last quarter, Microsoft shipped 1.1 million Xbox units. That's a pretty stark number to start things out with, but there's quite a bit more to that number than meets the eye. In fact, starting to run down that number along with the rest of the numbers from the fourth quarter of Microsoft's fiscal year 2014 shows some key points that suggest the Xbox division is looking fairly sharp.

That 1.1 million units actually represents both Xbox One and Xbox 360 units, and actually represents a 10 percent increase in total sales for the devices. Not particularly exciting, of course, but here's the interesting part; the Xbox One is priced quite a bit higher than a 2013-era Xbox 360 was, so that's a boost in revenue for Microsoft; fully 14 percent extra revenue, in fact, taking the total for the quarter to $104 million. That actually helped boost the company's entire hardware division—along with some extra sales momentum coming in from the Surface—to a combined total, at last report, of $274 million for the fourth quarter. Xbox alone, meanwhile, accounted for fully $104 million of that.

Naturally, this is something of an incomplete picture; it's not quite known as yet how that relates to comparable sales from Sony for its PlayStation 4 or Nintendo for its Wii U, but reports suggest that Xbox One sales are growing substantially thanks to Microsoft's move to drop the Kinect. But this is likely to be a temporary matter; most players either have the Xbox One desired in hand or will have it within the next few months; without a substantial price drop, Microsoft just won't be selling much more hardware in the Xbox One line because no one will need said hardware. This is the time in the traditional console life cycle where hardware is bought, and software takes over to run the game. New reports from Juniper Research, meanwhile, suggest that the next part of the console wars that involves hardware shouldn't come around until somewhere around 2019. That's not a bad projection—sometimes we forget that the Wii U came out in 2012, which really kicked off the console wars' “next generation” phase in earnest—but it might be a bit early given that Microsoft and Sony showed up just late last year. Still, with some reports suggesting that Nintendo might bring out its new console ahead of schedule, we may not be able to count on release schedules to remain static for very long.

The video game market in general can be a strange place, and the firm on top one day may not be there for long, if at all even the next day. With tastes continually changing, and the market changing accordingly, the end result is a market that brings plenty of surprises with just about every new development. Things are looking good for Microsoft, but this may not last, and it may not be as good as things look over at Sony.