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Xbox Enjoys Record 2021 Holiday Season As Halo Infinite Records Strongest Launch In Series History

With the Xbox Series X and S now a year and change into their lifespans, Microsoft just pulled off a record holiday sales quarter thanks not just to game sales, but also, helpfully, having more Xbox consoles in stock than last year.

Microsoft’s quarterly earnings for October through December of 202 1saw the company’s gaming revenue reach $5.44 billion — a new record not just for the holiday season, but for the company’s quarterly gaming sales in general. It’s a $411 million (or 8%) increase in gaming revenue from that same period 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 that growth was driven by growth almost across the board: Xbox content and services revenue was up 10% thanks to first-party sales and Game Pass subscriptions (thanks, Halo Infinite!), and Xbox hardware revenue was up 4% due to continued demand for brand new consoles. The only element of the segment that dropped was third-party game sales.

Key releases including Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5 also had strong 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 stands at 18 million players.

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

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

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