Starfield helps Xbox beat revenue expectations

Starfield helps Xbox beat revenue expectations

The newly-released Starfield helped Microsoft's games revenue rise by nine per cent year-on-year.

That's according to the company's financials for the quarter ending September 30th, in which the firm reported that its Xbox division brought in $309 million more than 12 months prior. Content and services revenue was up by 13 per cent, driven by the "first-party content" and its Xbox Game Pass subscription service.

That aforementioned first-party content, according to CEO Satya Nadella (pictured), was Starfield in unsurprising news. Bethesda's ambitious sci-fi RPG drove a massive increase in Game Pass subscriptions.

"We released Starfield this quarter to broader acclaim, more than 11 million people have played the game to date," he said. "Nearly half of the hours played have been on PC and on launch day, we set a record for the most Game Pass subscriptions added on a single day ever." 

Growth in games software and subscriptions offset the seven per cent decline in hardware revenue. Microsoft blames this on fewer consoles being sold, partly due to their high price.

Nadella also expects Xbox revenue to shoot up by over 45 per cent due, largely due to the impact that having Activision Blizzard on its books will have in the quarter ending December 30th.

"In gaming, we expect revenue growth in the mid-to-high 40s," the exec told investors.

"This includes roughly 35 points of net impact from the Activision acquisition, which as a reminder includes adjusting for the third-party to first-party content change noted earlier. We expect Xbox content and services revenue growth in the mid-to-high 50s, driven by roughly 50 points of net impact from the Activision acquisition."

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.