Microsoft Has Claimed That It’s Already Lost The “Console Wars”

Third place is still a podium, I reckon.

With the first day of a week of court proceedings in the ongoing battle between Microsoft and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over Microsoft’s attempts to acquire Activision Blizzard done and dusted, we’re being treated not only to some interesting revelations around the internal workings of some of Xbox’s acquisitions, but some incredibly interesting remarks from both sides.

One of these comes by way of of documents submitted to US courts by Microsoft, which claim that it believes Xbox has well-and-truly lost the “console wars” and has continued to lose them since first stepping into the gaming console space in 2001.

Thanks to IGN’s comprehensive coverage of the whole affair, we can see this in writing (with some redactions included, of course) with the below statement:

“Xbox’s console has consistently ranked third (of three) behind PlayStation and Nintendo in sales. In 2021, Xbox had a share of 16% while Nintendo and PlayStation had shares of [redacted] and [redacted], respectively. Likewise for console revenues and share of consoles currently in use by gamers (‘installed base’), Xbox trails with 21% while PlayStation and Nintendo have shares of [redacted] and [redacted], respectively.”

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The reason for Microsoft coming out swinging its fists in self-defeat is seemingly to enforce the idea to the courts that it’s hedging its bets on a different strategy to its rivals, whose businesses as they currently stand rely heavily on loss-leading console hardware sales to grow their respective customer bases. Microsoft says it instead wants to pivot to profiting from sales of games software – and presumably sales of its Game Pass subscription services.

There’s plenty more already to come out of just the first day of this head-to-head between Microsoft and the FTC, including confirmation that MachineGames’ Indiana Jones title will be exclusive to Xbox and PC, and is coming to Game Pass on day one.