COVID-19 Lockdowns Driving ‘Big Flood’ of New Gamers Says Xbox Boss

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In a recent interview with Business Insider, Xbox head Phil Spencer revealed that Microsoft has seen growth across every sector of its business, from console sales to usage of services like Xbox Live and Game Pass, as the COVID-19 pandemic drove millions of Americans indoors.

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“We’re seeing a big flood of new people come in to gaming,” said Spencer while calling it a bittersweet victory. “You wouldn’t wish this is the way we get here,” he added. 

“Gaming right now, globally, is having a moment,” Spencer said. “We track what we call ‘new to Xbox customers,’ — new to gaming customers — people that we’re seeing for the first time,” he said. 

“Gaming is a social and community connection for many people, and as physical distancing is requiring shelter in place, is requiring that people are physically apart, the social connections and community connections that the games industry brings to people is just expanded.”

“We want to be very thoughtful and not exploiting the situation,” Spencer said during the interview. He continued that Microsoft is just trying to keep all the services up and trying to keep the games enjoyable.

According to the NPD Group’s monthly report, video game hardware, software, accessories, and game card sales topped $1.6 billion in March as more and more people turned to video games as a means of passing the time.