Microsoft's Original Xbox One Goal Was to Sell 200 Million Consoles

"We've never seen a console sell that many units."


Xbox boss Phil Spencer has revealed that Microsoft's original goal, at the time when Don Mattrick was running the Xbox division, was for the Xbox One brand to sell 200 million consoles.

Speaking to Stevivor, Spencer did not say if this figure was for the Xbox One alone or if it could include future updates like Project Scorpio and whatever comes next. Whatever the case, 200 million is a big number, and would be well ahead of the PlayStation 2's individual record of 150 million units shipped.

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"The goal that the team had was to figure out how could we sell 200 million game consoles," Spencer explained. "We've never seen a console sell that many units. The biggest individual console, the PS2, did 120 million or something like that. [Ed. Note: Sony announced in 2011 that the PS2 had shipped 150 million units worldwide]. The approach the team took was people are moving to OTT Video Services [over-the-top, like Netflix and Stan] and television’s getting disrupted--and if we could build a console that could be at the center of this transition and really embrace not only people playing video games, but also people with the changing habits in television, you really take the console market and the gaming market and you expand it potentially."

The original focus of the Xbox One was to "start up building TV content as a first-party capability," he added. Microsoft even formed Xbox Entertainment Studios, a division dedicated to bringing TV and film content to the console. However, after Mattrick left Microsoft for Zynga and Spencer was put in charge, one of his first directives was to reposition the Xbox brand with gaming being front and center. Xbox Entertainment Studios was closed, though Steven Spielberg's Halo TV show is still on the way.

"When we came in after two-and-a-half years ago and started running the Xbox program, I centered us back on not trying to become something other than a game console," he explained. "You don't earn the right to be relevant in other categories of usage for the console until you've earned the gaming right, so let's go make sure that's what we deliver."

Spencer said his directive when being named Head of Xbox was to ensure that gamers, and game developers, saw the Xbox One as a console that is "for them first." At the same time, Spencer mentioned that video usage through things like Netflix and YouTube on Xbox One today is as high as game usage.

"But I still think that we have to succeed with gamers first before we get any permission to go do anything else," he said.

Go to Stevivor to read the full interview.

Microsoft no longer reports Xbox sales figures, so we don't know exactly how well the console is doing. Earlier this week, Microsoft confirmed there are 400 million "active" Windows 10 devices, which include Xbox One consoles.

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