Xbox badly needed Starfield to be a system seller, and good news: it seems to have done the trick. Amazon metrics report that sales of Xbox Series X hardware have surged on the digital storefront up to 1000% above normal throughput. Given the timing, it’s safe to attribute this sharp uptake to players sorting themselves out with a console before Starfield‘s launch tomorrow.
As pointed out by PeterOvo on Twitter, sales of the Xbox Series X console have spiked on Amazon US by 1056% in the days before launch. The sales ranking metrics you can see in the screenshot below are provided to Amazon users with a seller account, which PeterOvo appears to have.
What I find interesting about these figures is that people are buying the Series X console on its own. There’s a console bundle that includes a copy of Starfield that will start arriving on launch day, but it hasn’t climbed higher than the base console in isolation. This would seem to indicate that people are picking up the console and helping themselves to a copy of Starfield on Game Pass so that they’re ready to go the moment it unlocks. This will not upset Xbox a jot — it has said before it isn’t terribly concerned whether people are playing games on Xbox, PC or Cloud via Game Pass, only that they’re somewhere in the ecosystem.
This is the precise outcome Microsoft hoped to see when it forked out vast sums to acquire a number of publishers and studios like Bethesda. Xbox has lagged behind competitor PlayStation since the Xbox One’s abortive 2013 launch, to the extent that Xbox eventually stopped reporting on sales figures altogether. Its list of exclusives has also languished a bit, relying on the diminishing returns of its three core franchises in Halo, Gears of War and Forza to prop up its library of games. Starfield is the first Xbox exclusive in years to feel like a true must-play launch. After years in the wilderness, is this the moment things finally start to turn around for them? Has Phil Spencer’s long (and eye-wateringly expensive) brand-building game paid off?
Time’s going to tell on that one. In the short term, I’m sure Microsoft brass will be very happy with the sales reports this month.