Microsoft Exec Says Xbox Lost the Console War to Nintendo and Sony

Microsoft's Xbox consoles have a loyal following, but when it comes to sales, its new generation Xbox Series X/S has been lagging well behind Sony's PS5 and Nintendo's juggernaut Switch. In a recent interview with Kinda Funny Games, Xbox Head Phil Spencer admitted that Microsoft had effectively lost the console wars to its rivals.

"We’re not in the business of out-consoling Sony or out-consoling Nintendo. There isn’t really a great solution or win for us," Spencer says. "I know that will upset a ton of people, but it's just the truth of the matter when you're third place in the console marketplace and the top two players are as strong as they are."

Spencer says it's not as easy to shift consumer purchasing habits as it once was.

"It’s just not true that if we go off and build great games, all of a sudden you’re going to see console share shift in some dramatic way," he says. "We lost the worst generation to lose in the Xbox One generation, where everybody built their digital library of games."

He went on to explain how generational continuity has changed the marketplace.

"I see a lot of pundits out there that want to go back to a time when we all had cartridges and discs, and every new generation was a clean slate, and you could switch the whole console share," he said. "That’s just not the world that we are in today. There is no world where Starfield is an 11 out of 10 and people are selling their PS5. That’s just not going to happen."

It's somewhat of a mystery exactly how many Xbox units Microsoft has sold this generation, since it stopped reporting exact sales figures to the public. Current estimates put it at around 21.3 million units versus 35.9 million for the PS5 and a gargantuan 122 million for Nintendo's less-powerful but more flexible Switch. Microsoft has instead focused on subscriber numbers for its XBox Game Pass platform, which allows users to play games across platforms like PC and mobile.