It's been known for awhile that the PS4 has been doing well for Sony. With around 36 million sold, there are almost twice the number PS4s in the hands of consumers compared to the Xbox One in a similar timeframe. So much so that Microsoft has resorted to reporting the number of active users on Xbox Live and Windows instead of actual sales figures. However this is not why Microsoft has moved to reporting monthly active users (MAUs) At Microsoft's Xbox Spring Showcase, Xbox boss Phil Spencer explained why.
"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 [game publishers and developers] want. Our partners and gamers, they want the largest collection of active gamers who are buying and playing games," he told attendees according to GamesIndustry.
"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."
In fact, Spencer claims that it's a risk to the company to use MAUs as a metric of success due to its dependency on ensuring Xbox Live works as reliably as it should, something that's been a challenge of late.
"If we have some Live issues like we had in the last week, that's not great for our MAU count. That directly hits us," he explained.
"If we go a long stretch without having great games on our platform, that will hit MAU. That will negatively impact MAU. It's great that we're seeing our strongest MAU growth ever... We're incredibly proud of that, but we know we have a lot more work to do. We pick this metric not to hide something. In fact, I think that we're more exposed by picking a number that actually shows how many people are really using our platform, using our service, every month and reporting that publicly."