Xbox enjoys record-breaking holiday season in 2021 as Halo Infinite Records scores strongest launch in series history

With the Xbox Series X and S now a year old and out of date, Microsoft just had a record holiday sales quarter thanks to not only game sales but also, helpfully, having more Xbox consoles in stock than the ‘last year.

Microsoft’s quarterly earnings from October to December 2021 saw the company’s games revenue hit $5.44 billion – a new high not just for the holiday season, but for the company’s quarterly game sales in general. That’s a $411 million (or 8%) increase in gaming revenue over the same time last year, when the Xbox Series X and S had just launched and everyone was still largely locked down, staying home and playing more games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Microsoft says growth was driven by growth almost across the board: Xbox content and services revenue grew 10% from first-party sales and Game Pass subscriptions (thanks, Halo Infinite!), and revenue Xbox hardware increased 4% due to continued demand for new consoles. The only element of the segment that fell was sales of third-party games.

Key releases including Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5 also had good releases. In its follow-up call, Microsoft reported that Halo Infinite broke series records with 20 million players at launch, while Forza Horizon 5 currently has 18 million players.

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It’s worth pointing out that at least some of this improvement was likely due to the acquisition of ZeniMax and Bethesda finalizing in March last year, as now their game sales are included with the rest of Microsoft – meaning that the sales of Deathloop have been incorporated into Microsoft’s results. since its launch in September. That said, Xbox Game Studios is now such a behemoth with its many acquisitions that it’s hard to say what impact it actually had.

Activision-Blizzard, which Microsoft recently announced it would pick up $68.7 billion, isn’t included in the financials until 2023, assuming the deal closes. But depending on what Microsoft decides to do with its games, it could have a much bigger effect.

Rebekah Valentine is a reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.

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