2016 Was A “Milestone Year” for Xbox Says Microsoft’s VP of Xbox Marketing


2016 was an amazing year for the Xbox brand according to Microsoft’s corporate Vice President of Xbox marketing, Mike Nichols.

In a new post on the official Xbox Wire, Nichols thanked the Xbox community for their support and engagement throughout the year.  “We were privileged to celebrate the 15-year anniversary of Xbox in November, but what made 2016 most special was laying out our vision for gaming at E3 2016, delivering a new version of Xbox One along with great new games and services for you to play on the device(s) of your choice and seeing terrific response from gamers worldwide this holiday”, Nichols wrote. “In fact, in November and December, we saw Xbox Live engagement reach an all-time high of 3.9 billion hours, up 23 percent compared to the prior year. Thank you!”

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Numerous Xbox milestones were reached in 2016, including the release of the Xbox One S, the Xbox Play anywhere program, and the launch of multiple critically acclaimed titles:

  • Xbox One owners enjoyed nearly 400 new games to play in 2016, including critically-acclaimed console exclusives likeGears of War 4 and Forza Horizon 3.
  • Forza Horizon 3became the best-selling, highest-rated racing game in 2016 and the biggest Forza launch to date. The Forza franchise continues to grow and has now seen well over 14 million players on Xbox One and Windows 10.
  • Gears of War 4launched to critical acclaim (Game Informer: 9.25/10, IGN: 9.2/10, Polygon: 9/10) and has had a tremendous reception for its campaign, Horde 3.0 and Versus Multiplayer experiences – all of which are delivered in High Dynamic Range (Xbox One S), 4K (Windows 10) and support cross-play as an Xbox Play Anywhere title. We are seeing incredible engagement on Xbox Live with nearly 23 million Versus Multiplayer and Horde matches played since launch, as well as within the eSports world, where the Gears eSports Pro Circuit has marked the franchise’s dramatic return with a more-than-$1,000,000 prize pool.
  • TheXbox Play Anywhere program launched, which enables gamers to play a growing list of titles like Gears of War 4Forza Horizon 3ReCoreKiller Instinct: Definitive EditionEverspace and Astroneer on Xbox One and on Windows 10 PC at no additional cost. You can pick up where you left off on either device, bringing all your saves, game add-ons and achievements with you.
  • Xbox One owners enjoyed more than 265 million hours playing Xbox 360 games in 2016, including highly-requested titles likeRed Dead RedemptionCall of Duty 2Call of Duty 3Call of Duty: Black OpsCall of Duty: World at WarMass Effect 2Mass Effect 3The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Skate 3, via Xbox One Backward Compatibility.
  • It was a big year for the Minecraft community with the launch ofMinecraft: Education Edition as well as the release of Minecraft to new platforms such as Gear VR, Oculus Rift and Apple TV. In addition, 150 new features were added to Minecraft from more than two dozen updates.
  • With new titles for Windows 10 and growth in Windows 10 devices, gamers played more than 2.5 billion hours just in November 2016, which is a 127 percent increase compared to November 2015.
  • Xbox Live wasrated the fastest, most reliable gaming network in an independent study by IHS Markit in the U.S. and U.K.
  • New system updates on Xbox One and the Xbox app brought Clubs and Looking for Group (LFG) on Xbox Live, as well as Cortana and Background Music. Since the release of Xbox One in 2013, over 200 new features have been added.
  • Fans created over 2.4 million personalized Xbox Wireless Controller designs viaXbox Design Lab in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.
  • Last but not least, we launchedXbox One S, delivering the only console with built-in UHD 4K Blu-ray, 4K video streaming and HDR for gaming and video. New titles with HDR support included Gears of War 4Forza Horizon 3NBA 2K17Deus Ex: Mankind DividedFinal Fantasy XVThe Elder Scrolls Online and World of Tanks. Xbox One S was among the top-selling consumer products this holiday in many markets, and its launch helped set the engagement records we experienced.

In his post, Microsoft’s VP of Xbox marketing also mentioned the upcoming release of the Xbox Scorpio, and the launch of a “terrific” portfolio of new games this spring.