Microsoft: Next-gen console sales could hit 1 billion

Xbox maker believes non-gaming entertainment capabilities of next-generation consoles can lead to record sales.

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Microsoft believes next-generation consoles will sell over 1 billion units and aims to elevate the long-running Xbox 360 to 100 million sold in the next five years.

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Speaking with OXM, Microsoft senior vice president of Interactive Entertainment Business Yusuf Mehdi claimed the consoles' deep media opportunities will lead to record industry sales.

"Every generation, as you've probably heard, has grown approximately 30 percent," Mehdi said. "So this generation is about 300 million units. Most industry experts think the next generation will get upwards of about 400 million units. That's if it's a game console, over the next decade."

"We think you can go broader than a game console, that's our aim, and you can go from 400 million to potentially upwards of a billion units," he added. "That's how we're thinking of the Xbox opportunity as we go forward."

Speaking specifically about the Xbox 360, Mehdi said he is hopeful that the aging platform can reach 100 million units sold in the next five years. Sales currently stand at 77 million. He explained that Microsoft has a number of ideas in mind to go about achieving the milestone, one of which is "new price points."

"We believe over the next five years we can break a 100 million unit installed base," Medhi said. "That's something we're shooting for; it's not a financial plan as such, it's just rough numbers if you will. To sell another 25 million, half of those will probably come from replacements, but half will come from new buyers."

"And the way we'll break into those segments is by hitting new price points, getting new classes of entertainment to come with the Xbox, and breaking into new customer segments," he added. "So you'll see the Xbox 360 continue to exist, even as we launch the next generation Xbox One."

Microsoft Game Studios executive Phil Spencer said earlier this week that the Xbox 360 will be "very vibrant" for years to come and even teased a "huge" announcement for the platform to be made next month at the 2013 Electronic Entertainment Expo.

"I think the [Xbox 360] is going to be very vibrant for many years. In fact, we have a huge, I think it's huge, [Xbox 360] announcement for E3 that I keep wanting to talk about, but I can't," Spencer said. "I think it will surprise people. I loved what we did last year with Minecraft; bring Minecraft to the box; six million units later it's kind of a beast. I think there's a lot of life in the [Xbox 360] for years to come."

Nintendo's Wii U launched last year and has sold 3.45 million units to date. The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are due to launch later this year. Neither company has provided sales forecasts for either device yet.

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