Yesterday, Microsoft published its latest earnings report, for the first quarter of its 2017 fiscal year (the third quarter of the 2016 calendar year), and it was a pretty good few months for many areas of the tech giant's operations. Its cloud and Office businesses saw healthy growth, as did its Surface hardware sales, but it was another disastrous quarter for its mobile business.
There was also an unexpected fall in gaming revenue, which dropped by 5%; Microsoft said that this was "driven by lower Xbox console pricing and lower console volume". The company also reported that the number of Xbox Live monthly active users had grown 21% year-over-year, rising to 47 million.
That's certainly an impressive increase, although perhaps slightly less so when you compare that figure with last quarter. In Q4 FY2016, Microsoft reported that it had 49 million Xbox Live users, which means that it lost around 2 million users over the last few months.
When viewed in a broader context, that's not as worrying as it might seem, though. Over the last four quarters, Xbox Live monthly active users have remained consistently within the 46-49 million range:
- Q1 FY2016 | 39 million
- Q2 FY2016 | 48 million
- Q3 FY2016 | 46 million
- Q4 FY2016 | 49 million
- Q1 FY2017 | 47 million
So while Microsoft won't be particularly happy about losing 2 million Xbox Live users last quarter, its gaming platform is still doing pretty well. With the all-important holiday shopping season now approaching - and sales of the new Xbox One S looking very healthy indeed so far - the number of Xbox Live users seems likely to rise again this quarter, perhaps even reaching the 50 million user milestone for the first time.