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Xbox Live hits 59 million monthly active users in FY18 Q3

Xbox One X
Xbox One X (Image credit: Windows Central)

Today, Microsoft released its quarterly earnings ending on March 31, 2018. The report shows revenue of $26.8 billion and $7.4 billion in net income over the past three months. Net income is the profit after the costs of goods sold, expenses, and taxes are deducted.

Aside from that, it looks like the company's gaming division witnessed a few strong months. Gaming revenue increased by 18 percent, to $2.25 billion, mostly driven by software and services revenue growth. The 24 percent software and services increase is mostly from third-party game sales.

A few years ago, Microsoft stopped reporting Xbox One sales figures and instead measured success through engagement. Over the past three months, Xbox Live monthly active users grew 13 percent year-over-year to 59 million, consistent with the last quarter. This is surprising because the quarter before this was the lucrative holiday season which usually means more console purchases and usage.

It's great to see that Xbox is doing so well and hitting 59 million monthly active users even after the holiday season. The continued success of games like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds and Sea of Thieves probably contributed to that. Hopefully this means that Phil Spencer, the Executive Vice President of Gaming, will be able to invest more in quality first-party experiences along the lines of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and God of War for the platform.

In the earnings call, Microsoft stressed that a large portion of its quarterly expenses were due to investment in gaming. Hopefully that means that the company is developing numerous first-party titles.

Keep an eye on WindowsCentral.com/Gaming for all the latest in Xbox and Windows 10 gaming, accessories, news, and reviews!

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.

25 Comments
  • I wonder how many of those are solely from Minecraft Pocket Edition players. Would be interesting to know how many are Gold subscribers too and how smurf accounts are dealt with.
  • A lot and a lot would be my guess. That game has been permanently on top of IOS and Android paid application for as long as I can remember.
  • MC is also popular on other platforms tho. It's always on the chart...
  • Xbox Liver users are up 13% yoy. But sequentially it's flat with Q2. https://news.alphastreet.com/microsoft-reports-blowout-earnings/
  • Yes, but you do not compare quarter after quarter since there are seasonal changes... You compare YoY because that shows if the changes are real or seasonal. Otherwise the quarter after Christmas would always be reported as a failure.
  • That's ALOT of people with 2 other successful platforms and PC. The Xbox team have really done a great job!
  • I would like to know how many paying subscribers they have.
  • Well, they do communicate on sales and paying subscribers numbers but only when they are good and when it looks like they are satisfied by them. For me, if they don't talk about them, they are just not satisfied with the numbers or the numbers don't look good.
  • "Over the past three months, Xbox Live monthly active users grew 13 percent year-over-year to 59 million, consistent with the last quarter."
    When we look at the growth on year-by-year basis we have to consider what was released this quarter vs the same quarter last year. Yes, there are more XB1 and Win10 users. Plus adding the Minecraft players on Switch, Android, IOS.
    They had a huge launch with Sea of thieves. And there seem to have been bigger third party games this quarter. Overall, I'll say these numbers can be explained and for me they are the expected numbers. ofc this doesn't give the whole picture, they won't communicate on specific number of sold Xbox One units with separate numbers for Xbox One X and how many subscribers paid for Gold and Game Pass... they'll communicate on what favours them...
  • Why do "we need to consider" and "explain" these numbers? Is it so important to you to try and make Microsoft look less successful by trying to explain their good report in a negative way? Is it only Microsoft or do you do this when Alphabet/Apple reports a good quarter as well? Why do you need to do it?
  • Well yes I try to analyse ever numbers marketing teams try to serve people. They could have easily given actual console sales, number of gold and game pass subscribers. I actually try to look at the whole picture and not look at specific numbers and say "great". As to why I'm doing it? hmm I like to inform people or at least get my opinion out there so that it gets people thinking. You wouldn't believe the number of people who don't know what the 59m mau means. It is the number of people that used xb live at least once in the last month (in this case it's march) and on multiple platforms. And that includes XB, win10 or mobile devices, but also certain numbers of players from Switch, Android or IOS. It's crazy that some people actually think the 59m is the number of gold subscriptions... But yes, that's why. Now can I ask you something? Why does my analysis or my post bothered you so much that you needed to reply me about why I'm doing it? Isn't it good that someone actually tries to give a clearer picture of the whole thing and try to get people to understand the numbers? I mean if you don't care of the numbers or see the big picture, you can always ignore my post...
  • Why do they really need to focus on HW sales? HW + SW + engine license + dev kit + IDE + e-sports business + mixer and mixer integrations + middleware license + subscription + community investment + game server rental + etc, all those, are MS's source of income. MS's a SW company, HW sales are not their only bread and butter. All they need to do is broaden their SW reach. Keep investing into UWP, BC and FC (and GamePass). Integrate / have synergy between systems, products and resources e.g. XPA on ARM, DreamCast-memory-card-like IOT device to connect with xbox using Azure and XBL or let game open API to Mixer. Make it easy for devs to share code between platforms, between client and server. Help streamer, e-sports partners and many others profit. Yes, help others profit == help oneself profit.
    And only user's investment can prevent user from leaving a platform, not a certain HW that last 3-7 years. If you have all these integration in place, user base can only grow.
  • "Hopefully this means that Phil Spencer, the Executive Vice President of Gaming, will be able to invest more in quality first-party experiences along the lines of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and God of War for the platform." ...God no, NO to more single player games. And WTF is this obsession with exclusives? Omfg, just let it go, ffs. Phil Spencer, please ignore these ignorant fools that think the answer to success will be found in single player exclusives. If anyone here believes that Sony's console sales are a direct result of their exclusives, I have a bridge in SanFran to sell you.
  • I really don't know if you're serious here.
    But what are you talking about?
    You are actually against the idea of a company making games. Are you a gamer or an investor?? I mean, a gamer not wanting games is crazy. And ok, you may not like single player game but that doesn't mean no one likes them. Both the title mentions were critical success and sold very well. And what's this obsession for exclusives you ask?
    Well, it actually means games that are usually made by the console maker for their customers. At the end of the day exclusives are games and believe it or not gamers actually want to play games. So how is having more games a bad thing for gamers. Please explain...
  • I want games, and I want MS to invest in games, just not exclusives and especially not single player exclusives. My point is that the media portrayal that exclusives sell consoles is bs. I game around 30-35 hrs per week so not really hardcore but the thing is none of those hours are spent playing exclusive games. Why? Because they typically are not as good as third party games. I have less than 30hrs invested in Witcher 3 and Fallout 4, arguably 2 of the best solo games available, simply because gaming is a social activity. Out of my 200+ friends, a small handful invest more than a few hours in solo games. Hence, my point that I do not want MS to focus on single player exclusives. They provide very little longevity or additional income and contribute very little to the number of consoles that sell. Any game that MS invests in needs to at least have a co-op option, and needs to be developed by people that have prior experience in AAA quality games.
  • Hmm the thing here is that you are taking your personal preference and experience and making it a generality. When you say "[they] contribute very little to the number of consoles that sell".
    Do you actually have numbers for these?
    The thing is that we have numbers about Zelda and Mario Odyssey sold amazing numbers. Uncharted 4 and Horizon ZD also sold a lot.
    We got to look at diversity too. I mean a game like Bloodborne sells 3m is a lot different than uncharted 4 which is a lot different from GoW or Detroit B.H., Horizon ZD, Ratchet & Clank, Nioh, Littlebigplanet, Gran Turismo sport or MLB The show...
    This is diversity and all of these brings different people into the ecosystem.
    I mean I won't buy all these games but with diversity there will be some games that will cater to my need... I've already posted about the importance of exclusives. I've already posted why they are important, through logical and historical reason. Also how MS themselves try to hype exclusives in major gaming convention like Gamescom or E3. If you want I can post these arguments here... As a gamer, why do you talk about "additional income"? Anyway you seem to be against diversity and only have one type of game. Do you agree that that's restrictive? Don't you think having a diverse lineup is more likely to bring people with different needs? Personally I play a lot of different types of games and it would be terrible to just have one type of game...
    I mean I'm not a fan of racing games but I won't campaign against them and that companies stop making them just because my friends and me don't play them or because they don't sell as much as a GTA...
  • Asher Madan, why are writing slanted articles on this website? Don't you have an article for playstationlifestyle you need to write?
  • Slanted article? lol
    What do you mean?
  • Well, he stated he was surprised that MS actually grew this qtr, which indicates he doesn't really understand the gaming markets and how they're changing, and he used that to spin the rhetoric that Nintendo and Sony single player exclusives should be a benchmark for what MS should strive for to be successful. I interpret that as platform bias.
  • I would prefer that MS work on porting over a few of the multitude of mmorpgs that are currently on pc(like they are trying to do with Black Desert Online) and making them exclusive to xbox and pc.
  • Yes, I agree. For me, I also think that Asher Madan being surprise shows that he doesn't really understand the gaming market. Now about the rhetoric of single player exclusives, that I don't agree. I mean we know that the switch and PS4 are selling a lot more than the XB1. Some of the top selling Switch and PS4 exclusives happens to be mostly single player games. Yes, these single player games actually do sell a lot. So in that sense there is a market there. The number don't lie. The question is how can you get these players to buy and get into XB? Well how about providing some single players games? How is providing some diversity bad? Also you talked about porting 3rd party games on XB and making it exclusive. But here is a question as a XB gamer. How does a 3rd party game not being on PS4 benefiting XB gamers? I mean Black Desert Online is a 3rd party game that would come on console regardless. Wouldn't it be better MS invest in making their own game for their gamers?
    Meaning Black Desert Online + MS's game vs just Black Desert Online and PS owners not getting Black Desert Online.
  • Obviously I'm posting my opinions, first of all. I realize this is hypothetical but with PS4 and Switch, how many more would they have sold if the game wasn't single player. Personally, I thing PS4 outsold xbox for reasons more related to ethnicity and the snowball affect than games and Switch is doing well because of portability and nostalgia. I don't think Zelda would have sold nearly as good on Xbox. Now, don't misunderstand, single player game can be well made. I don't dispute that. Sony has most likely some of the best, and Zelda is not far behind. Because of my preference for multiplayer in games, I will push MS to invest in those style of games. If they are going to spend money/resources on games, I prefer they invest in massive open world multiplayer games. Will they do other games? Definitely. Just not my preference.
  • hmm I understand what you're saying but I have few question.
    What do you want MS to do? Just make multiplayer games or games that you like?
    Do you really want a console that provides only one type of game? Personally I think diversity in games is very important. I think an healthy platform is one that provides a whole line up of different type of games. I really think bigger library has an affect on console sales. It's been seen throughout the many console generations. Get as many players as possible playing it. And ofc we know the benefits of a higher user base. Imagine a world where there is only one type of game. The industry will probably lose people. Less people in gaming will probably mean less money, less money in turn will probably lead to less investment and less game. It's a loss for everyone I think... I think for me the question is not having only single player or only multiplayer games. It's about having both and all type of games. And wanting games doesn't make someone a Sony or Nintendo fanboy but a gamer. I mean just because I don't like racing games, I won't tell MS to stop making forza. I'll never be against a company invest money to make a game. Because for me, at the end of the day it's games that drive this industry...
  • Looks like Xbox is in big trouble.....
  • I'm not sure that's good news as Playstation Plus (the Xbox Gold equivalent) has 34 million subscribers