Microsoft is getting ready to reveal the next generation of the Xbox next week, and despite signs that the console market is struggling, the company this afternoon released a big batch of stats to make the case that the industry is very much alive and kicking.
Spending on all types of video games (including hardware in some cases) reached $65 billion last year, up 7 percent, according to Microsoft’s research, as outlined by Xbox chief of staff Aaron Greenberg on the latest podcast from Xbox Live’s Major Nelson this afternoon. Forty-two percent of that spending was captured by game consoles, the company says.
“More people are playing video games than ever before, and they’re doing it across a variety of devices,” Greenberg said on the show. “As more devices, tablets, phones, become smarter and more interactive, we’re seeing that people are choosing gaming as a main form of entertainment.”
Even though consoles are facing more competition, Greenberg said the decline in console sales in recent years is also a natural result of the winding down of the current console generation. ”Of course it’s down,” he said, “It’s year eight. We expect it to be down.”
He noted that the declines in year eight of previous console generations were larger, based on Microsoft’s research. Household penetration has also increased as consoles have broadened beyond core video games. According to the company, 57 percent of households in the U.S. now own a console, compared with 40 percent in the previous generation.
The charts above and below were released by the company in conjunction with the podcast. The numbers are industry-wide, not specific to the Xbox. Microsoft says it used its own estimates in addition to third-party research reports to pull the numbers together.