Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A massive conglomerate just announced their quarterly results, and their headline gaming platform — in this case, Xbox — is making an absolute killing.
There’s no part of Microsoft that isn’t enjoying a bit of a purple patch right now: the company’s revenue for the third quarter of 2021 jumped by 19 per cent to $53.6 billion ($US41.7 billion) while the company made a healthy, Oz Lotto-sized $19.95 billion ($US15.5 billion) net income.
But some of the juiciest numbers came from Microsoft’s gaming division, which enjoyed a 50 per cent jump in revenue thanks to greater demand for Xbox hardware and services. The ongoing demand for the Xbox Series X and S — Microsoft didn’t break out the numbers per console — saw hardware revenue soar by a staggering 232 per cent, a figure that would probably be higher if the world’s supply of silicon wasn’t completely buggered right now.
Engagement on Xbox platforms hit an all-time high as you’d expect, and Microsoft’s lead of communications also noted how games are evolving into “metaverse economies”, something that seems particularly apt with the growth of Fortnite, Minecraft and Roblox in recent years.
As games evolve into metaverse economies, we are building new tools to help anyone sell creations on our platforms.
— Frank X. Shaw (@fxshaw) April 27, 2021
Minecraft is especially popular: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella revealed during the earnings call that Minecraft has over 140 million monthly active users, a 30 per cent increase year-on-year.
Given the amount of interest still in Minecraft, it makes you wonder whether Microsoft pulled the plug on Minecraft Earth a fraction early. The augmented reality Minecraft was shut down after the pandemic restricted people’s movement worldwide, although other AR games like Pokemon Go found ways to stay relevant and accessible during the pandemic. The game was struggling before that point, to be fair, largely down to an overreliance on microtransactions, not enough content updates and a lack of wider awareness in the gaming market.
Elsewhere, everything is looking gravy for Microsoft. Even revenue for Bing — the search engine everyone loves to joke about — rose by 17 per cent year on year.