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PS5 vs Xbox Series X won’t be decided by console sales, Microsoft says

With the Xbox Series X and Series S consoles sparking a mad-dash to buy next-gen hardware, Microsoft says it isn’t focusing on console sales.

In an interview with the Guardian, Xbox chief Phil Spencer says the forthcoming battle with the PS5 shouldn’t be judged by the number of units both parties sold.

The Sony PS4 famously dominated the Xbox One during the current-generation, but Spencer says the measure of success should be the number of overall players rather than hardware shifted. Via Xbox games on PC and the ongoing xCloud efforts, Microsoft has a real chance to gain ground on this front.

He once again refused to say how many Xbox One consoles were sold overall and hints that Microsoft won’t be reporting those numbers again moving forward.

Related: Xbox One vs PS5

“I don’t want my team’s focus on [console sales],” he told Kezza MacDonald. “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.”

Spencer points out that 3 billion people are playing games, but only around 200 million households have a traditional video games console. Despite all of the hype for the next-gen, he says the “console space is becoming a smaller and smaller percentage of the overall gaming pie.”

Spencer goes onto say he won’t change his tune and go crowing from the rooftops if Microsoft manages to top the PS5 this time around. Although, we’ll believe that when we see it.

“I can promise you that I won’t do that,” he answers, when asked if he’ll think again. “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.”

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