Microsoft has a wealth of data at their disposal when it comes to assessing who is using their products and how. Internally, Microsoft can use Bing data to judge how popular a game or media release is compared to other releases. Microsoft can also determine how its users are using their gaming consoles and then where to focus their efforts. Finally, Microsoft has access to data gathered by 3rd parties who survey people and ask about their gaming habits.
The results concerning the typical gender or age of gamers has been shifting since the introduction of mobile casual games. Citing a study in the UK by the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau), Microsoft can see that 52% of gamers are female and the remaining 48% male. In addition to more female gamers, there also seems to be a bigger age range of gamers with the largest group between the ages of 25-44. This study shows how the advent of personal devices enables everyone from all ages to game wherever they are, but the definition of gamer has now stretched to include players of casual games like Candy Crush or 2048.
A games initial popularity can now be tracked by following web search results, and Microsoft uses Bing data to do just this. The release of Destiny was a big day for gamers, and it is very apparent in the search results. Destiny was launched around the same time as the Sims 4 and FIFA 15, but had a dramatically higher volume of searches regarding it. Using data like this, Microsoft can hone their advertising and offer deals to try and boost sales.
The Xbox One also offers Microsoft unique insights into the media consumption habits of their users. By tracking activity of the Xbox One console, Microsoft found in the last month 91% of consoles were used just for gaming, 45% of them were used for video, 43% socializing, 38% internet, 37% music, and 12% live TV (these are percentages per category). It is evident here that gaming consoles are used for so much more than only gaming, however gaming is a big use. Most important to note that the normal user does a range of different things sometimes at the same time.