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There have been a lot of doubts about the future of the Xbox consoles of late. While the Microsoft gaming executives tried to allay fears about the future of the consoles, the head of Chris Dring shared disturbing information about Xbox support in a recent edition of the Gi Microcast podcast.

Xbox Facing Existential Threat As Some Publishers Express Worry About “Flatlining” Sales

Dring thinks that Xbox may be facing a huge existential threat. He shared this as part of what he learned from the GDC which was held last week. According to Dring, a prominent company was worried about the console’s slumping sales in Europe.

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“The other thing I heard—I heard it from a very prominent company and one not so prominent—was Xbox’s performance in Europe is just flatlining”, Dring said. “You can follow our monthly coverage in the games market, and you can see that Xbox sales are falling, and it’s been falling all throughout last year and it’s falling even harder this year.”

“The phrase one major company who released a big game last year said [was], ‘I don’t know why we bothered supporting it’. We mentioned on a previous podcast that we’d heard retailers in Europe are considering or had already been cutting back their Xbox stock on their shelves—hardware, games, that kind of thing—and 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’.”

During the February business update podcast, Microsoft gaming executives said they had no plans to stop making consoles. Instead, they said the next entry in their console generation will have the highest hardware leap ever seen.

Although Microsoft gaming executives have done their best to dispel any fears or rumors about the fate of their console, the company’s body language tells a different story. In January, a rumor that Xbox Series X|S will be the last console from Microsoft sparked a backlash from the Xbox community with some popular streamers withdrawing their support for the console.

Xbox lost the console war long ago

Xbox Facing Existential Threat As Some Publishers Express Worry About “Flatlining” Sales

Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft’s gaming division

Microsoft joined the console market on November 15, 2001, when it launched the first Xbox in North America. The following year, the console was launched in Asia, Australia, and Europe. Since stepping into the market, Microsoft has struggled to rise above the competition.

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Xbox has consistently ranked below PlayStation and Nintendo in sales in the console market, a fact that was reiterated last year during the long legal battle that Microsoft faced during its attempt to acquire Activision Blizzard.

Earlier this year it was revealed that PS5 outsold Xbox Series X|S by 2-to-1 in 2023. The data was contained in a document shared by Take-Two Interactive, the parent company of Grand Theft Auto maker, Rockstar Games.

During the business update podcast last month, Microsoft confirmed that it was sending 4 games (Pentiment, Hi-Fi Rush, Grounded, and Sea of Thieves) that were previously exclusive to Xbox to rival platforms. Some saw it as a cue that Microsoft was officially confirming that it had lost in the console market.

Xbox Facing Existential Threat As Some Publishers Express Worry About “Flatlining” Sales

During the podcast Xbox boss Phil Spencer said that sending the four games to rival platforms was a one-off thing. However, in a recent interview with The Verge, he said “I don’t think we should as an industry ever rule out a game going to any other platform”.

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“With Xbox putting some of the games on PS5—from what I understand the majority of them will be coming across at some point, assuming it progresses as Xbox believes it probably will—I think Xbox is in real trouble as a hardware manufacturer, and that was the thing that came out of GDC for me,” Dring said.

“I thought it would be fine, but then I didn’t really factor in that some developers and publishers might just go, ‘yeah I don’t, you know, is there any point?’ And that is when you can lose it.”


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