Phil Spencer isn’t interested in comparing sales.
The Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5 are officially out on the prowl. As anyone may expect, it’s difficult to obtain either console right now, with retailers all over the place completely sold out. Though, according to some retailers, it seems their stocks of PS5s have sold out much more quickly than their XSXes (or whatever the official shorthand for this thing is). It makes one understandably curious about the exact sales numbers, but apparently, Microsoft has no intention of divulging.
On the launch day for the Xbox Series X, Xbox head Phil Spencer took to his personal Twitter to sing the console’s praises. “Thank you for supporting the largest launch in Xbox history,” his tweet read. “In 24 hrs more new consoles sold, in more countries, than ever before.”
Assuming he’s telling the truth about that, that means the initial sales of the Series X have already beaten out the Xbox One, which sold over a million units at launch. But if you want to know the specifics, you’re unfortunately out of luck. Microsoft has a long-standing policy of not publishing console sales numbers, as its efforts are spread out over more than one platform.
Thank you for supporting the largest launch in Xbox history. In 24 hrs more new consoles sold, in more countries, than ever before. We’re working with retail to resupply as quickly as possible. You continue to show us the connective power of play is more important than ever.
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) November 12, 2020
In an interview with The Guardian, Spencer explained the company’s stance on sales metrics. “In the last year we’ve had Google and Amazon and now Facebook announcing they’re coming into our gaming space. I’m not gonna go compete with their numbers based on how many Xbox Series X I’ve sold. [Google] is never gonna talk about how many Chromecast Pros they sold. They’re gonna talk about how many players they have.
“I think the people who want to pit us against Sony based on who sold the most consoles lose the context of what gaming is about today. There are 3 billion people who play games on the planet today, but maybe [only] 200 million households that have a video game console. In a way, the console space is becoming a smaller and smaller percentage of the overall gaming pie.”
So if you were hoping for another “Sega does what NintenDon’t”-style debate between Sony and Microsoft, well, you ain’t getting it, at least not until someone manages to finagle the sales numbers from retailers on their own. Though, as an amusing aside, apparently sales of Nintendo Switches jumped up in October right before the PS5 and Series X released. That’s Nintendo for you, playing the long game.