Head of Xbox Phil Spencer has recently stated that the Xbox Series X is lagging behind the PS5 and Nintendo Switch.
While the Xbox Series X is an incredibly powerful current-generation console, it hasn't been selling as well as the top offerings from the competition. In a recent interview on the Kinda Funny Xcast, the head of Xbox admitted that: "We're not in the business of 'out-consoling Sony or Nintendo', there's not a win or solution for us. I know that will upset people but that's the truth".
It's a bold and candid claim for the head of the console division to make, but one that Spencer stands by: "When you're 3rd place and your competition is as strong as they are, our vision is that anybody who's on our console is invested in our platform and feels like a member of a massive ecosystem." He points out that while the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S may not have the same celebrated success as the PS5 or the Nintendo Switch, the biggest strength lies in having generational support in a way the competition cannot match.
Where the brand succeeds the most is with Xbox Game Pass which has disrupted the industry by being the best deal for those wanting the best Xbox Series X games for a low monthly price. It's something that Phil Spencer believes in, but not something that can change the tide with how things are going: "We lost the biggest console generation there is to lose so when we build on Xbox, we want it to feel awesome. So if we focused on great games, that doesn't mean we'll win the console race".
A numbers game
The Xbox Series X has sold just shy of 21 million units worldwide as of March 2023 (via VG Charts). In contrast, the PS5 has sold nearly double that according to Sony's latest earning release, as the Japanese hardware giant is closing in on 40 million consoles sold. These two systems both launched in November 2020, almost three years ago, and are now widely available in the US, the UK, and Australia with the shortages and need for restocks now firmly behind us.
It's less fair to compare the sales records of the Xbox Series X to the Nintendo Switch, as the latter has been available for a further three years (launching in 2017) and appealing to the handheld console market. The Nintendo Switch has sold 122.5 million units according to Nintendo's February 7 earnings release. The handheld hybrid has now become the third best-selling video game console of all time, only bettered by the PS2 and the Nintendo DS. The Nintendo Switch has sold 100 million more units than the Xbox Series X.