Microsoft stopped releasing unit sales figures for Xbox One quite a while ago, and according to Xbox box Phil Spencer, sale numbers aren’t a good metric to source when determining a console’s popularity.
Speaking in his keynote at the Xbox Spring Showcase over the weekend, Spencer said Monthly Active Users (MAU) are a bigger indicator of performance. Switching to the metric also wasn’t the company’s way of “hiding something,” as Spencer feels the company is “more exposed by picking a number that shows how many people are using our platform” publicly.
“The number of people in the last 30 days that have engaged with an Xbox Live game on either Windows or Xbox 360 or Xbox One is the critical factor for our team to gauge our success, because that’s what our partners want,” he said per GI.biz.
“Our partners and gamers, they want the largest collection of active gamers who are buying and playing games. That is the health metric of any service that you want to talk about. What’s your monthly active users in the space? It’s not how many consoles I sell. If I sold a console two years ago and now it’s in the closet collecting dust, that’s not good for the gamers.”
Using such figures is admittedly a risk, he said, because the number of MAU users can potential slide as the audience becomes bored. Or, if the Xbox Live service experiences issues “like we had in the last week.”
“That’s not great for our MAU count,” he said. “That directly hits us. [So is going] long stretch without having great games on our platform, that will hit MAU. That will negatively impact MAU.’
Xbox One is currently riding its highest MAU growth ever, he continued, but Spencer admitted Microsoft has “a lot more work to do” on that front.
In its Q2 2015 report back in January, Microsoft said MAU for Xbox Live were up 30% percent year-on-year to 48 million.