Even without supporting statistics, it’s clear that 2016 was a big year for the Xbox brand. Not only did Microsoft launch and release a new version of its Xbox One console, the Xbox One S, but the Xbox One also beat the PS4 on Black Friday, which is one of the most important shopping days of the year. Reaffirming what a great year it was for Xbox, though, Microsoft has now revealed plenty of figures, also promising that 2017 will be another fabulous year for Xbox fans.
In a post on the Xbox Wire, Microsoft notes that almost 400 new Xbox One games were released in 2016, including “critically-acclaimed” exclusives like Gears of War 4 and Forza Horizon 3 (which was also the best-selling, highest-rated racing game of the year). The company also mentions that “new add-on content or expansions” for several of these games, along with Dead Rising 4, Minecraft, and ReCore, will be made available this year.
Additionally, Microsoft highlights the launch of its Xbox Play Anywhere program, which allows players to play certain games on Windows 10 PCs and Xbox One without paying extra. The Xbox One backward compatibility feature gets a mention too as gamers spent “more than 265 million hours” playing Xbox 360 games on Xbox One, including titles such as Skate 3 and Red Dead Redemption which were recently made compatible following many fan requests. Given that almost 50% of Xbox One owners play backward compatible games, according to Xbox boss Phil Spencer, this lofty playtime comes as little surprise.
Other interesting stats include the fact that 2.5 billion hours of gameplay were logged on Windows 10 devices in November 2016 which is up 127% in November 2015. 2.4 million wireless controllers were customized by people in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada – and 150 new features were added to Minecraft as well.
Moving forward, Microsoft says that it expects 2017 to be a “special year” for Xbox gamers, including the launch of the Xbox One Project Scorpio hardware which it calls “the most powerful console ever.” Microsoft and Xbox executives recently called 2017 ‘the year of Project Scorpio’ so this continued enthusiasm is to be expected.
There will also be plenty of “new games with Xbox Live” support, with Microsoft name-checking the likes of Mass Effect: Andromeda, Halo Wars 2, For Honor, and a handful of other highly anticipated 2017 video game releases. There will be no shortage of things for Xbox One and Windows 10 gamers to look forward to then and hopefully Microsoft will reveal lots more on its plans for the year soon.