Xbox Game Sales and Xbox Live Users Rise, But Hardware Sales Fall

Xbox Live reached 39 million active users in the latest quarter, up 28 percent compared to last year.

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Microsoft on Thursday reported earnings for the quarter ended September 30, revealing new insight into the health of the company's Xbox gaming division. Some areas saw gains, while others slid.

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Game sales grew 66 percent, led by sales of Minecraft, the sandbox franchise that Microsoft paid $2.5 billion to acquire back in 2014. Another area of growth during the quarter was Xbox Live. Revenue generated from the online platform increased 17 percent compared to the same quarter last year. Microsoft said this was driven by more total transactions, as well as higher revenue per transaction.

An additional bright spot for the Xbox platform during the quarter was the number of "active" Xbox Live users, which rose by 28 percent to 39 million. In a post-earnings financial call, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella added that about half of all Xbox One owners log into Xbox Live every day.

It wasn't all good news for the Xbox division during the quarter, however. Total revenue from hardware fell by 17 percent compared to last year. Microsoft attributed this downtown "mainly" to fewer Xbox 360 consoles sold.

During the same quarter of last year, Microsoft shipped 2.4 million combined Xbox One and Xbox 360 consoles. However, Microsoft did not share any new data regarding the number of consoles shipped during this quarter. Overall, gaming revenue "increased slightly" during the quarter, Microsoft said.

Microsoft's "More Personal Computing," the division which houses the Xbox unit, posted total revenue of $9.3 billion for the quarter. This is down from $11.2 billion during the same period last year. Operating income also slid year-over-year, falling from $1.62 billion to $1.56 billion.

Overall, Microsoft posted revenue of $20.4 billion for the quarter, down from $23.2 billion during the same period last year.

Microsoft will hold an earnings briefing to discuss these results starting at 2:30 PM PDT / 5:30 PM EDT.

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