After an astonishing 17 months since release, Microsoft’s latest generation of Xboxes is finally more easily available. As a result, the publisher is seeing its first good month for sales in a very long while, with the Xbox Series S and Series X bringing in more money in March than even Nintendo’s Switch.
This piece originally appeared on Kotaku Australia on April 26, 2022. It has been retimed as a weekend read.
In breaking business news, it turns out if you have your product available, a lot more people will buy it. That’s the revelation Microsoft have encountered, now that the Xbox Series S and Series X are, at last, more likely to show up in stores, both physical and online. According to NPD’s sales data, this has led to Microsoft bringing in more money than its rivals in March 2022, despite the Switch outselling the Series S/X in terms of individual units.
US NPD HW – Xbox Series was the best-selling hardware platform of both March 2022 and the first quarter in dollars, while Switch led both time periods in unit sales.— Mat Piscatella (@MatPiscatella) April 25, 2022
While finding a Series X can still prove an occasional ordeal, Kotaku’s checks this morning found them easily available via Best Buy. Meanwhile, the Series S was absolutely everywhere to purchase at its standard price, from GameStop to Target to Best Buy to Walmart.
That Nintendo still beat Microsoft in terms of units sold was likely thanks to the cheaper price of the Switch when compared to the Series X combined with the Switch’s far more widespread availability.
Meanwhile, these seemingly positive results hide an overall drop in sales for hardware year-on-year, according to NPD’s Mat Piscatella. March’s overall sales show a drop of almost a quarter on 2021, down 24%, and the first quarter of 2022 shows an overall fall of 15% compared with last year.
Piscatella speculates this could be a result of continued hardware scarcity meeting “higher prices in other areas.” Or, to put it another way, the cost of living crisis hitting so much of the world is finally catching up to video games.
Of course, poor old PlayStation has yet to see anything like the Series X/S’s return to shelves, with PS5’s still as rare as unicorn poo. Our checks of the same stores that have the Series S for sale all returned no joy for the PlayStation 5.
It will be interesting to see if that can change in Q2 for 2022, especially as Sony launches its revamped PS Plus in an attempt to take on Microsoft’s all-conquering Game Pass. Without the machines to use it on (and try finding a new PS4, as well — we can’t), it’ll be much more of a struggle, especially as we enter a summer of vastly increased prices on household basics.