Microsoft won't reveal Xbox Live active users going forward as it focuses on Xbox Game Pass

What you need to know

  • Microsoft is changing the way it reports its gaming figures.
  • Xbox Live Monthly Active Users is no longer a useful metric says the company.
  • Instead, Microsoft will disclose overall revenue growth which includes Xbox Game Pass.
  • Total gaming revenue will still be filed with the American Securities and Exchange Commission.

Ever since the Xbox One failed to take off in comparison to the PlayStation 4, Microsoft has stopped reporting sales figures for its hardware. Now, it seems like the company will only disclose growth going forward. However, this may be due to the fact that it's focusing on Xbox Game Pass.

The fact that Xbox Game Pass exists, and it allows many gamers to play new releases with their $10-a-month subscription, means that software sales may take a hit. However, they could be offset by the revenue earned from the subscription service.

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Going forward, the following major changes will take place according to a Microsoft presentation. This was first spotted by Twitter user DomsPlaying.

  • Year-over-year percentage revenue growth for Xbox services will be revealed.
  • This figure will include Xbox Game Pass and other sources of gaming revenue.
  • Xbox Live Monthly Active Users won't be reported going forward.
  • Gaming revenue will continue to be disclosed in the Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

It's a shame that Microsoft isn't going to reveal more information. Hopefully, this is going to change as the next generation of consoles starts in 2020. I personally think Xbox Live Monthly Active Users was a good metric because we knew how many more people were playing games on Microsoft's services every month.

Ideally, Microsoft should reveal the number of Xbox Game Pass subscribers. This could be the real test going forward because a consistently-growing count means that the service is succeeding. Now, it'll be even harder to judge how the division is doing on an individual basis.

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Asher Madan handles gaming news for Windows Central. Before joining Windows Central in 2017, Asher worked for a number of different gaming outlets. He has a background in medical science and is passionate about all forms of entertainment, cooking, and antiquing.

31 Comments
  • What does them being the biggest have to do with anything? They would report the numbers if they looked good, but something must be changing, such that they dont seem as impressive. Now as to what that means, I dunno...
  • Probably had a good number of people migrate to ultimate while it was free.
  • If they don't report it, they don't care about it, apparently all the people who have paid for their service for years don't mean **** to them any more. This is also very telling of where they are going in the future, streaming/service rental only.
  • Or they've found reporting increases/decreases in these numbers doesn't equate to increase/decrease in revenue. It's just another way to try and control the narrative around this part of the business. For example say the number of active users stays pretty stagnant, but these users are now spending more through your subscription services and storefronts. You'll show positive revenue, but a majority of media outlets will run with the negative story around user numbers. I'm definitely not a finance person, but to me this way MS is making it all about revenue. I guess it also indicates that between now and the launch of the next gen consoles they don't expect their new user numbers to be that impressive. On hardware numbers Sony has them beat and Nintendo's growth makes Xbox look pretty bad. Xbox Live account numbers are distrusted because you basically get an account on setting up a Win10 PC. Gamepass numbers are distrusted as many subscriptions are linked to free trials and $1 Month specials. So if all they have is the fact they are making money, then they need to focus their reporting on that.
  • It does if they are discussing Xbox Live Gold. This, to me, reads like they aren't going to discuss Xbox Live metrics at all, which includes Gold users, which is one of their largest gaming revenue streams. But they are choosing to downplay that aspect.
  • They are all going that way. Not just Xbox. Sony have made a huge deal with MS to use Azure for Sony own version. But they are behind in developing it. Console sales and Live user counts are pointless to shareholders going forward. Xcloud and Gamepass numbers will be the future moving forward. They are still making consoles for another Gen to appease those slow or stubborn to make the shift. But even Sony are putting exclusives on PC. Console numbers and PSN data will also be pointless next Gen.
  • This line of reasoning makes no sense whatsoever. This is a shift in how financial reports will be delivered to shareholders and press, not a change in the products and services they'll offer. This is bad news for forum warriors, not gamers.
  • I don't think MS being less transparent and only communicating on what they feel like communicating while hiding information is good for gamers.
    What they publish is public information. News articles are written based on it. This is also an indicator for consumers.
  • He never said it was good for gamers, just that it was bad for "forum warriors" Can you cite why it's bad for gamers, or consumers?
  • I thought it was common sense. The more information consumer gets the better it is for him to use or analyse that information to help him make a decision to invest on a product or a service.
    I'll give you a simple example.
    Suppose I want to play a multiplayer shooter on steam. I see that only 3,038 are playing Gears 5 at the moment even though it just launch few days back. Seeing that number I may think twice about buying it fearing I'll struggle to find people to play with...
    Do you know what MS's communication was on Gears 5 on steam?
    "Xbox Game Studios' best-ever debut on Steam". For me, that is clearly just marketing trying to use words to make Gears 5 on steam more popular than what it actually is. If someone didn't know better he would think Gears 5 is very popular on Steam so he would buy it to play online. Knowing if a product is popular or not. Knowing if a brand, a product or service is actually making money is a way to help make a decision whether it's worth investing in it or not. All information is better for consumers and that's obvious.
  • If you make your determination on a game based on anything other than what you enjoy, you're doing it wrong. Who cares how many units it sold. The only question you should ask is, is the price worth the play time? There's no market analysis (which I already know you can't really do even though you think you can) needed.
  • Did you even read my reply??
    I even gave you an example.
    Knowing that there is an extremely small install base for a game just few days after it's launch gives an indication that the multiplayer could soon be a ghost town. You say "The only question you should ask is, is the price worth the play time?".
    Well, knowing that the multiplayer of a game is a ghost town or not is exactly one of the reason that could make someone buy one game over another. I would think that playing a multiplayer game where you struggles to find players to play against isn't "enjoyable". And that is just one example. Another example is the importance of a popular console. Popularity of a platform is quite important. More studios would be open to have their games on a popular console (more games), also more studios are likely to have games optimised or made for a more popular system and have ports to other system... More popular console means more people likely to play with...
    I mean stats are there for everyone to see. More often than not the best selling consoles had the bigger library. Here we are talking about giving stats to gamers. So far, I've been talking about the positives that these numbers are to consumers. Maybe not to everyone but to some at least. For me, having these numbers can I can only be positive. For some it would be neutral and for others it would be positive. So it can only be positive overall. I don't think you're saying these numbers are negative to gamers. So why are you even bothered, care or even opened this topic? (if you think it's negative then tell me how).
  • Again, your ability to "analyze" is false. Sales of a game is not proportionate to the amount of people playing multi-player (especially with cross-platform on the rise). That's a failed analysis, and one that could negatively impact a game overall.
  • Typical reply. You ignored EVERY points I've made and just posted the same bs.
    Numbers don't lie. Steam tells us that there are 3,225 players playing the game right now. Sales are numbers. And numbers don't lie.
    When MS tells "Xbox Game Studios' best-ever debut on Steam.", that's a statement that's not giving a true picture.
    This is probably just a PR statement made to try to sell the game on steam. You would need to be very dishonest to not to see it.
    Companies are there to sell and hype their products. MS wants to have a control about what's communicated. They want to communicate only "positive bews". It's clear that they'd rather not communicate on all numbers because they can't control them... and numbers don't lie. I think the only people who want to hide actual numbers to consumers and who would rather have only company say communicate on whatever they want are company fanboys.
    For company fanboys all that matters is that the company they worship makes money even if they mislead people into buying their product.
    They don't care about consumers. They want to hide information from them and FACTS.
    That's pathetic fanboyism, worshipping a company. lol It's hilarious how they imply that these numbers don't matter but they always seem to be present on these topic, doing damage control and going to war trying to hide these numbers from consumers.
  • I guess it's also because MS took XBL (sdk) to platforms like Steam, iOS, Android, Switch and others. And anyone can create a account with ease, without needing a Xbox.
    It doesn't equal to Xbox (the console) Live growth anymore.
  • This is probably correct. They never said active meant Gold.
  • This makes total sense. Console sales and Live data is pretty pointless moving into a generation where both MS and Sony are putting there titles on PC, and allowing users outside the Xbox ecosystem also to have access to Live. Like Steam, Switch and even Phones like Gears Pop. The right metric going forward is Xcloud and Gamepass. That's the future whether or not a few stubborn people want to admit that. Sony will be the same also.
  • "Sony will be the same also."
    Oh no another prediction by Richard Loveridge. The problem with your prediction is that I don't think Sony kept changing their metric like MS.
    They still communicate on what MS hide sales, PS+ members or even profit. The real and most relevant metric that I can see is actual profit or loss of the XB division. If Game pass service is so important why don't they communicate on the active number of members? Why not communicate on the profit or loss the service makes?
    ofc they probably won't. Anyway are you ignoring my post and this thing I keep posting?
    https://www.trueachievements.com/n36503/xbox-gameplay-chart-week-ending-... Also are you going to reply to my question on the Minecraft topic?
    I'm starting to think that you just made that up...
  • So let me get this right. You would rather MS give Live Active users as a gauage even though that now Includes Steam, Phones and other PC stores? Its an overinflated number now. Whats important going forward is who is playing the Xbox Gane Studios games and platforms. That is all that matters to Financials. It's obvious Sony are doing the same. They officially announced they will start putting exclusives on PC. Clearly because they see MS benefitting from this already. And even having to bite the bullet and pay MS for Azure cloud access to build their own streaming network. Sure this doesn't fit in with the keyboard Sony warriors like yourself. Because it takes away your console fanboy wars on articles and forums like these. But the very old and tired sales analysts dudes lie yourself are becoming dinosaurs. And are becoming increasingly meaningless and pointless. The uptake in Ganepass subscriptions must be really killing you guys. Both biased reviewers and sales analysts literally have become pointless. Because gamers can play all the new Xbox games on Console or PC spending very very little instead of hundreds of pounds buying each game at launch. Word of mouth across Gamepass has become quite a strong metric. I even know console gamers who have built PCs already to use Ganepass Ultimate. It's a win win for everyone. I had no idea the popular Football Manager 2019 was free on Gamepass. A friend recently told me. And he is playing that on a not so good laptop. It runs fine. Word of mouth across the PC community is really starting to help MS. Especially in the PC space. MS were smart beating Sony to the PC crowd in the way that they have. It increases there Gamepass reach.
  • First I'll say it's hilarious how you ignored the link I posted because that pretty much killed all the bs and lies you were posting last week. You refusing to even mention it shows what you're all about. Same thing with the Minecraft topic.
    In that topic you posted bs as you tried to sell the new XB console.
    Today you tried to sell game pass on a steam topic. You're obviously trying to sell MS product and service here. It's becoming obvious. Anyway I'll still reply you even though you are mostly talking bs once again.
    1) I want them to announce more information. I don't want them to slowly slowly hide information from consumers and only release PR statements trying to show a product or a service is popular.
    2) I've seen you argue with me about these numbers in the past even though I used to tell you it included other platforms, how funny it is for you to U-turn just because MS decided to stop using them.
    3) You say what's important are financials yet non of you guys are asking for profit numbers. You say "Whats important going forward is who is playing the Xbox Gane Studios games and platforms", yet none of you'll are asking for number of gold or gamepass subscribers as a metric. How weird.
    4) Sony didn't say they are putting all their future exclusives to PC. They'll continue to have exclusives but they only have some on PC the one where it makes sense. All that you're saying about Sony is more "Richard Loveridge speculation and predictions" and we saw in the past how reliable that is.
    5) Hiding information from customers and gamers doesn't help gamers/consumers first. It actually helps company fanboy who wants facts and information to be hidden from people so that the company they worship can make bs pr statement to mislead people into buying their products. And since you're clearly a company fanboy who cares much more about his god MS than us gamers, this is perfect for people like you.
    6) I only see crazy company fanboys calling reviewers bias and trashing them. I only see fanboys of a certain company want to hide sales numbers and other numbers just because numbers don't lie and the company they worship isn't selling well. ofc these clowns are the first to celebrate on the rare occasion when the company sells well.
    Here is a topic how the same clowns who downplay sales numbers talk about how the XB1s sold well because it's "superior".
    https://www.windowscentral.com/xbox-one-was-top-selling-console-second-h...
    Let's be honest here if the XB1 was dominating, you, MS and other of it's fanboys wouldn't want numbers to be hidden.
    7) Gamepass is not a metric, it's a service. And MS hide it's numbers. MS and it's puppets wants to call Game pass the Netflix of gaming. Well, Netflix publish the number of subscribers. It also publish the profit/loss numbers.
  • A hahahahaha. True achievements. A hahahahaha. A 3rd party that has 0 access to MS data. And they even admit they themselves try and come up with 2 seperste charts. A hahahahaha. We all go off the official Most played list right there on Xbox thanks mate. There is 0 facts in your post as usual. Spewing MS hate because you can't take it Ganepass is a big success and growing. Last year you claimed Ganepass would fail. And none would give any care to Ganepass or Game streaming. How wrong you were. You still OK after Sony announced they are doing the same thing. You are OK right? Hahahaha. Sony boys. Trolling the internet and websites since they learned how to spell.
  • Once again zero argument from you. No proof, nothing... Same of bs...
    Once again I ask you for proof and you just ignore it and post the same bs...
    At this stage I just think you're trolling, while lying and doing your fanboy work.
    Oh and what's Ganepass?
  • Active users on Xbox Live does not equal to the growth of the company. It's not a good Metric. There are many active users in the Xbox echo system who don't own the Xbox console, but may be playing with in its ecosystem on the PC. Take a family of 5 in a house hold and 3 or 4 active users playing with 1 Xbox. Financial reports needs to be about earned revenue. Gamepass subscription service is part of that revenue. Month subscription payers weather they use the service on an Xbox or PC dishing out $10.00 per month if they stay on the service and most subscribers do. That's millions of subscribers around the world if available paying a monthly subscription. Microsoft isn't the only game developers putting games on gamepass, some third party developers are leveraging their games on gamepass with in months after its initial release. I think Microsoft knows what their doing. This change hurts game journalist and Youtube click baiters from fueling a stupid console war. To much toxic crap surrounding gaming. It's becoming hard to measure the success of Xbox when its leveraging gaming beyond the console. Microsoft is now release certain first party games on Nintendo switch and steam
    then you have gamepass on Xbox and PC and Xcloud. You can't measure the success of Xbox by console sales. Those days are gone. The future of gaming, just like TV, will be subscription and streaming services. They are popping up everywhere, and that's with or without a gaming console. That all depends on the player. consider and Xcloud playing, purchasing games or on a subscription, playing Xbox games on a tablet, PC or phone, but not owning an Xbox console. Microsoft still has to count that active user and revenue. With double the amount of Playstation 4 sold than Xbox one's, Microsoft still makes more money than Sony.
  • Head count does not equate to profits. Profits is all that I am interested in. I couldn't care less how many millions of customers there are as long as Microsoft is making more profits year after year. However, head count is a simple number to understand and can be used for bragging rights amongst young males. Typically the same males that compare car engine sizes and tennis shoe brands and other unimportant things in order to claim street cred. :)
  • Well, they aren't talking about profit though. So I guess you don't care about their current metric.
  • So you don't care how many users pay for Gold, a metric that is directly related to profits?
  • Active users isn't a out paying for gold. Active user could be someone playing Gears Pop on a phone. Active users is a dynamic that doest work anymore in the Xbox ecosystem from a financial point of view. You really think people are going to say oh look they now have 150 million active users. They will say, yeah but that now includes Steam, Epic Games Store, Xbox Console, phones. Etc etc. They will just play that figure down. MS can't win. 3 years ago Live Active users were just on the console. They showed how many people were playing on an Xbox console. That has drastically changed. And of they showed numbers of active users now above the number of PS4s sold, people online would ridicule them for over inflating numbers. Yada Yada Yada. When Xcloud launches (more than likely with fre access to Ultimate Gamepass subscribers) getting Gamepass numbers as they have announced is their new metric will show exactly how many people are engaged within the MS Xbox ecosystem. Across all the devices Xcloud and Gamepass are available on. Which just happens to include consoles as an option. As I said Earlier Sony are scrambling to do the same. With their recent announcements they will put their exclusives on PC next Gen and paying MS to use Azure servers for their currently in development version of Sonys Xcloud.
  • "Active users isn't a out paying for gold. Active user could be someone playing Gears Pop on a phone."
    LOL You are finally admitting that you were wrong and was talking bs when you said:
    "The active userbase is regular usage of Live more than 3 times throughout a month. And there were more than 50 million paying gold members in the months where 39 million active users were recorded. None of those 50 million gold subscribers were anything to do with Windows 10 PCs. As I said Windows 10 users don't pay a subscription fee."
    https://www.windowscentral.com/xbox-multi-billion-dollar-profitable-busi... I was reading back that topic and it's amazing to see the lies and bs you were posting back then. I guess some things never change I guess... "MS can't win."
    Exactly. That's why MS keep changing it. That's why fanboys want to hide facts and relevant numbers from consumers. So that MS can pull PR statement out of their hat to mislead consumers.
    At the end of the day, MS and their fanboys want "MS to win"... And it's all about that for you guys... "their new metric will show exactly how many people are engaged within the MS Xbox ecosystem."
    Except that they didn't say that. They never said they'll show how many people are engaged, unless you can actually show a link where they did. But knowing your history you probably probably won't as it was another one of your lies.
    Also Please post a link where Sony are scrambling to do the same. It's time that you own up some of the stuff you say...
  • Yup the new metric will be game Pass subscription once it's gets a large enough pool of people.
  • MS's communication has been all over the place this generation.
    When I think how much Spencer hyped the number of active users, this is actually laughable.
    I wonder if Spencer had a say in this... For me it was obvious that the XBL active numbers was something they were working hard on. First getting Windows people included (Someone who would play one game of Solitaire on Win10 would be included even if he hasn't spent a single dollar), next they included android, iOS and even Switch players. But it looks like these numbers are no longer relevant. Wen I read the title, that they'll focus on Xbox Game Pass, I thought "Are they going to publish the number of game pass members", "Game pass profit/loss" or even the number of players per game in real time. But no, they talk about revenue (not even profit/loss). ofc I get the feeling they'll still have their PR or marketing statements like:
    - Halo 5, revenue of over $400 million in global games and hardware sales.
    - Quantum break the best-selling IP the company has had since it released the Xbox One.
    - Sea of Thieves was the fastest selling Microsoft first-party new IP of this generation.
    - State of decay 2, players eliminated close to two billion zombies.
    - Crackdown 3 was the "most-played 'new' game at launch on XB". For me, this doesn't look good for MS. I believe they only communicate the numbers when they are satisfied and happy with them. If they are not they don't talk about it. For me, this new strategy is MS telling gamers and everyone else "We will hide actual numbers from you. We will show and tell you ONLY what we want you to see".
    That's what a salesperson would do to sell a product or service that's difficult to sell... Finally, I find it hilarious how so many MS/XB fans now criticise and find XBL active monthly user useless as a metric when many of them were praising it throughout the generation. I remember how many used to attack me when I criticised it.
    I guess it's fine or even great as long as it's MS doing it. Once they stop doing it, it becomes useless.
    This reminds me of Don Mattrick. No MS/XB fans criticised him when he was at MS. In fact, many used to love his strategy and vision (because he represented MS at the time).
    But once he left the company, MS/XB trashed him, blaming him for poor sales throughout the generation even though he left MS months before the start of the generation. LOL
  • I've just seen active monthly user on PSN is 103m. Now I understand more MS's decision to stop this.
    For me, they are doing this for the same reason as why they stopped communicating on console sales.
    They looked really bad compared to the main competition. MS doesn't mind communicating numbers or talking about sales as long as it's positive for them. They were at around 60-65m. But that included windows, steam, android and even Switch users. It really didn't look good as PSN numbers continued to grow...