Microsoft's gaming division has had quite an uphill battle to overcome as it pitches xCloud, GamePass and its latest Xbox Series S/X consoles this generation, and a recent investigation shows just how high the hill has been.
As Microsoft seeks approval on its $68B Activision acquisition with CADE, Brazil's national competition authority, the inquisition into the deal continues to be unearth discrete Xbox gaming related news, including how much Sony's PlayStation 4 outsold the Xbox One.
Back in 2016 when it was becoming clear that Sony's PlayStation 4 was becoming a runaway hit, Microsoft tweaked its gaming report to highlight game play, software and services revenue and achievements to arguably obfuscate actual console sales.
After seven years of coded success and or failure, Brazil's CADE looks to have forced Microsoft's hand in detailing how badly the PlayStation 4 outsold the Xbox One last console generation, by a magnitude of "more than twice as many."
According to the court papers filed by Microsoft to the CADE, "Sony has surpassed Microsoft in terms of console sales and install base, having sold more than twice as many [than] Xbox in the last generation." The Xbox One revelation comes via a Portuguese translator over at Game Luster who's accessed the Word docs provided by Microsoft to the CADE.
By admitting that the PlayStation 4 outsold the Xbox One by more than 2x but less than 3x, tacitly implies that at 117.2 million, when last reported by Sony, the PS4 left around 58.5 million Xbox One's to be sold to customers.
Taken in a vacuum, Microsoft's sale of 58.5 million Xbox One's against Sony's 117.2 million PS4s is a poor showing, but becomes staggering when rolling in Nintendo's 111.08 million Switch sales, as the latter entered the market almost two years behind the Xbox One.
Fortunately, much of that is in the past for Microsoft, however, the 2x hole the Xbox One put the company in has left its mark on the success ceiling for the Xbox Series S/X.
With over 2x as many people owning a PS4, Xbox gamers are contending with friends who find it much easier and accessible to play online with PS4's and or 5's with seven years of time and equity invested.
However, Microsoft's xCloud and GamePass plays in this current gaming generation may become the ultimate equalizer for the company as they attempt to mitigate hardware lock in.