What you need to know
Analytics group Circana shared the latest sales data for December 2023 and 2023 as a whole.
While PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch were ahead in sales, Xbox Series X|S consoles set a new record for units sold in December 2023.
This follows a combination of new games like Starfield launching for the system, as well as generous price cuts and discounts at various retailers throughout the month.
We've got a new Xbox Series X|S console sales record in the books, at least for the U.S.
That comes via Circana executive director and analyst Mat Piscatella, who shared the detail as an update to his informative thread on sales for the month. While in third place behind PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch units sold, Xbox Series X|S sold more units in December 2023 than ever before, dethroning the prior record holder of December 2021, which was also the launch month for Halo Infinite's campaign.
Piscatella confirmed this was primarily driven by sales of the Xbox Series X, which accounted for "just shy of 2/3rds" of the Xbox Series console sales in the month. For games, Circana also confirmed that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 was the best-selling game of the month in the U.S.
Why did Xbox Series X|S unit sales set a new high?
December always sees high console sales due to the holiday period, with parents and significant others buying gifts for family. December 2023 saw a number of hefty discounts for Xbox Series X|S consoles, in particular for Xbox Series X. For a brief period of time (it was in stock for less than a day) it was even possible to buy an Xbox Series X from Best Buy for $340.
These major discounts, combined with the availability of a number of games like Starfield, would've helped push more people who were otherwise on the fence or not considering a console.
What does this mean for Xbox in 2024?
Even if units sold were below PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch, any improvement is good after Xbox had several lackluster months for hardware throughout 2023.
Looking ahead, there are far less major third-party games slated to launch in 2024, but Xbox first-party still has a nice slate of games lined up, including titles like Obsidian's RPG Avowed and Ninja Theory's Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2, with more information on these games coming at the Xbox Developer_Direct on Thursday.
Combining excitement from these games with a price cut could see increased momentum for Xbox Series X|S sales in the U.S. Prior leaks also indicate Microsoft is working on an Xbox Series X all-digital refresh for this year. Whether or not that pans out, and what it means for the price of the original model, will likely have an impact on sales.