Xbox Series X and S are outpacing all previous Xbox sales, somehow

Analysts say selling two consoles under one umbrella has helped considerably.

Director of the Xbox department at Microsoft, Phil Spencer, speaks during a press conference on the ...
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Despite long-reaching supply chain issues, the Xbox Series X and Series S have managed to sell more units than any previous Xbox console at this point in its lifecycle. Xbox head Phil Spencer revealed the somewhat surprising statistic during a recent interview with The New York Times.

“Supply is actually as big as it’s ever been. It’s that demand is exceeding the supply for all of us,” Spencer said. “At this point, we’ve sold more of this generation of Xboxes, which is Xbox Series X and S, than we had any previous version of Xboxes. So it’s our job to get the supply there to meet the demand.”

Spencer speaks openly with NYT reporter Kara Swisher about how daunting the supply issue has been for the company. He goes as far as to say that working at Xbox now feels less like an entertainment job and more like a supply-chain job. The good news for would-be Series X owners is that Xbox really is pumping them out as quickly as humanly possible.

Dual SKU approach — Around October of last year, Xbox reported that it had shipped more than 8 million Series X and S consoles combined. At the time that number was staggering — where were people even finding Xboxes to buy?

With this new information from Spencer in mind, analysts like Daniel Ahmad say Microsoft has probably shipped more like 12 million units between the Series X and the Series X. That would mean the consoles have been selling a combined million or so units every month since October.

Ahmad contends that Xbox’s next-gen strategy of releasing two consoles under one larger console umbrella — what he calls a “dual SKU strategy” — has paid off big time for Microsoft. Even as parts for the Series X fall prey to the almighty supply chain, the Series S can step in to pick up the slack.

Extensive industry insight — Spencer proves himself a wealth of gaming industry know-how in the remainder of the NYT interview. He speaks at length about safety and inclusion, in particular, even going as far as to suggest a cross-platform player ban list.

Spencer also touches briefly on the Activision Blizzard fiasco, a situation with which he has already expressed discontent with to his staff. Swisher pushes Spencer to speak more explicitly about how Xbox has changed its relationship in the aftermath; he maintains some caginess in his responses, saying it’s not Xbox’s place to virtue-shame other companies. He expresses hope at industry-level change instead.