Game Devs May Start Avoiding Xbox As Console Sales Continue To Decline

The declining influence of the company could have devastating consequences.

Story Highlights

  • The increasing drop in Xbox console sales could drive game devs to start avoiding the platform.
  • The declining influence of the giant due to many factors has started making devs feel uneasy.
  • The shifting strategies in the market and Xbox’s focus on Game Pass could be its only way out.

We have all been through Xbox’s highs and lows over the years. Unfortunately, little has been done this gen to reclaim the glory of the olden days. The falling behind of the company was officially acknowledged when Phil admitted to losing the console wars with Sony and Nintendo. As per the CEO, it lost the battle by consistently appearing behind the two other giants in terms of market share and sales.

Even with a completely sanguine attitude, the first half of this generation has left my expectations muddled with disappointment and made me wary of what’s to come. I believe that things are still not looking too bright for the company’s traditional console business. But, what does all this entail for the maker of the Halo and The Elder Scrolls franchises? 

Xbox Consoles Are Losing Influence As Regional Sales Decline

One of the major drawbacks of low sales is that fewer gamers are joining the console ecosystem. Therefore, the brand has entered a perpetual downward spiral of losing influence in hardware while its rivals cover the growing void. The platform sales have continued to dwindle at an alarming pace in various regions. And to put things into perspective, its overall hardware revenue declined by 30% in Q3 last year alone.

YouTube video

It’s a similar story in Japan, where Sony dominates the rest of the market left by Nintendo. So, there appears to be little incentive to buy Xbox Series X|S consoles right now. 

Global sales are also affected by poor performance in various regions. Thanks to a recent Take-Two financial report, we can analyze how PS5 has sold nearly double the number of consoles compared to the Series X|S. PS5 has rolled over 50 million units around the globe out of the total 77 million Gen 9 consoles sold. While Microsoft does not reveal console sales often, we can estimate it has shifted 27 million units.

A recent Take-Two financial report suggests that over 77 million consoles have been sold, and the PS5 alone has sold 50 million of these.
Over 77 million current-gen consoles have been sold, and the PS5 alone has sold 50 million of these | Image Source: Take-Two

Game Devs May Withdraw Support As Trust In The Platform Wanes

After a slew of users, game devs may also begin feeling apprehensive about Xbox as console sales continue to stagnate. GamesIndustry head Christopher Dring recently shared his thoughts and claimed that “Xbox is in real trouble as a hardware manufacturer.” He seemingly heard that many devs are now questioning their support for the platform.

YouTube video

The phrase one major company who released a big game last year said [was], ‘I don’t know why we bothered supporting it.’ […] Now you’ve got third-party publishers going, ‘we’re putting in a lot of effort trying to create a Series S version and an X version of a game when, to be honest with you, for us the market is PC and PS5’,” says Chris.

I feel like a decrease in users will eventually have tangible effects on the devs—especially Indie studios—who will find it tough to offset the struggle of developing for both Series consoles. The increasing market share of PCs and PS5 might also influence the studios to skip Xbox if the situation doesn’t improve.

Many Factors Have Eroded Trust In The Xbox Brand

Okay, so what is causing the great decline in the first place? I’ve found that many elements have conjoinedly led to the rocky path over time. A bunch of decisions have not been embraced as well as Microsoft had hoped. One of these major dilemmas is the Series S.

The little giant has oftentimes caused issues in AAA titles due to limited specs. At one point, devs have even asked Microsoft to “drop mandatory support” for it. Similarly, back when Baldur’s Gate 3 Xbox ports were in development, the CEO, Swen Vincke, shared that Series S made it challenging to develop for the platform.

Developer claims ‘many’ studios are asking Xbox to drop mandatory Series S compatibility
byu/Lulcielid inXboxSeriesX

The current-gen of Xbox consoles came out with no exclusives. The first-party titles that followed were also hindered by a myriad of issues that gave us all a sour aftertaste for the brand.

Take Halo Infinite’s launch, for example. The game featured a rich campaign and multiplayer, but there was not much content beyond that. Redfall also floods my mind; the title pretty much turned out to be a flop with little semblance of what Arkane Austin had been known for.

Redfall is notorious for launching as one of the worst Xbox exclusives in recent years | Image Source: Steam
Redfall is notorious for launching as one of the worst Xbox exclusives in recent years | Image Source: Steam

Not Relying On Hardware Could Be Xbox’s Only Viable Strategy

As hardware sales decline, Xbox is furthering initiatives to propel the brand into new domains. Phil Spencer emphasized its focus on game sales instead of hardware to catch up while talking about the console war fiasco. Releasing first-party exclusives to PlayStation and Nintendo consoles is just a process to reach that goal.

A deeper focus on Game Pass by adding more features and games may also help, I reckon. Likewise, we might also see more game demos and investment in Xbox’s cloud gaming tech. Additionally, the CEO has shown interest in bringing PC gaming stores to consoles in a new interview.

Xbox's upcoming exclusives like Avowed suggest a better future for the remaining current-gen consoles | Image Source: Steam
Xbox’s upcoming exclusives like Avowed suggest a better future for the remaining current-gen | Image Source: Steam

Despite the concerns, I have found the upcoming Xbox exclusives to be really exciting. They may help the company stand on an equal footing with PlayStation again. Perhaps, the devs will continue to support the publisher if the strategies end up working out for the best.

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Shameer Sarfaraz is a Senior News Writer on eXputer who loves to keep up with the gaming and entertainment industries devoutly. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science and several years of experience reporting on games. Besides his passion for breaking news stories, Shahmeer loves spending his leisure time farming away in Stardew Valley. VGC, IGN, GameSpot, Game Rant, TheGamer, GamingBolt, The Verge, NME, Metro, Dot Esports, GameByte, Kotaku Australia, PC Gamer, and more have cited his articles.

Experience: 4+ Years || Education: Bachelor in Computer Science.

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