Gaming

Spencer says Xbox is ‘working as hard as we can’ to make more Series X/S stock


Microsoft’s head of Xbox Phil Spencer has said the platform holder is “working as hard as we can” to get more Xbox Series X/S console stock to market.

Speaking in a new Xbox podcast, the exec revealed that he’s even contacted chipmaker AMD – which makes both the CPU and GPU inside Xbox Series X and Serie S consoles – to ask if it can ramp up manufacturing.

Just like its rival PlayStation, Microsoft has struggled to match launch demand for Xbox Series X and S. Since November the consoles have been widely sold out at retailers and Microsoft has said it expects supply issues to continue until spring.

“I get some people [asking], ‘why didn’t you build more? Why didn’t you start earlier? Why didn’t you ship them earlier?’ All of those things,” Spencer said in a Major Nelson podcast published this week.

“It’s really just down to physics and engineering. We’re not holding them back: we’re building them as fast as we can. We have all the assembly lines going. I was on the phone last week with Lisa Su at AMD [asking], ‘how do we get more?’ So it’s something that we’re constantly working on.

Phil Spencer says Xbox is “working as hard as we can” to get more consoles to market.

“But it’s not just us: gaming has really come into its own in 2020. Obviously, PlayStation 5 is in very tight supply. When you look at the graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia… there’s just a lot of interest in gaming right now and console sales are just a sign of that, game sales are a sign of that and hardware is in short supply.

“But we’re working as hard as we can. The teams are incredibly dedicated, and I appreciate people’s patience as we work to build more.”

Xbox Series X/S and PS5 shortages are believed to have been exacerbated by scalper groups using software to automatically buy consoles as they come in stock, before selling them at extortionate prices on marketplaces like eBay.

A recent study suggested that so-called “scalpers” had made over $28 million in next-gen console profits through auction site eBay.

According to analysis conducted by data engineer Michael Driscoll, the median selling price for Xbox Series S (MSRP $300) on eBay was $469 and for the more powerful Xbox Series X (MSRP $499) it was $865, generating over $9 million in profits for resellers.

In a November interview, Phil Spencer expressed frustration with how Xbox Series X/S pre-orders had gone for some customers, and suggested Microsoft could come up with a new model for pre-ordering consoles, such as putting down a deposit.

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“I do think it’s going to push us to think about new models,” he explained. “It could be, reserve your slot. It could be doing things more direct with the customer. Still could have the retailer fulfill the order, but just so people can have more clarity on when they can get a console. It’s something we’re working on.”

He added: “The biggest disappointment for me in this launch — but I’m also happy with it — is people love the product. The demand is high, such that when you’re going to see product hit the shelf, it goes very quickly. If you want one, I sound like a salesman now, but I’d recommend picking one up when you see it.”