Rumors started some time ago that Microsoft was thinking about spinning Xbox off into a separate brand. They immediately denied the possibility, and behavior since then has confirmed it, but the rumor is still strong enough that it comes up during interviews to this day and is a concern the company feels the need to address repeatedly.
Microsoft’s Chief Financial Officer, Amy Hood, spoke at the UBS Global Technology Conference this week and touched on it as well.
“Xbox is financially relevant to Microsoft,” she said. “People should not be confused about the journey of improvement we have been on in the past two years in the Xbox business.”
Microsoft has taken strides, especially with Windows 10, to pull Xbox further into the fold rather than positioning it for a sale, making the Xbox app in Windows 10 a more and more functional piece of software that improves the overall experience of both systems.
“I think about the importance of gaming. I would actually literally, very specifically talk about the importance of gaming to us; you’ve seen the investments we’ve made; you’ve seen us talk about gaming and its importance across all form factors for us, be it the PC, be it a phone, be it the console itself. I think we’ve done a very good job of taking something that sort of sat outside the Windows ecosystem and made it part of the Windows ecosystem,” she said. “That gaming value accrues back to the ecosystem and to the developers who work there.”
“Gaming is fundamentally important,” she said. “The Xbox brand is still an incredibly powerful brand; gaming PCs are amongst the most lucrative businesses to be in.”
Hood said that gaming is quite profitable. She added that gaming helps attract younger players to the Windows ecosystem thanks to things like Minecraft, which the company bought for $2.5 billion last fall.
Despite that undying rumor, it sounds like Microsoft is pretty happy with the Xbox side of its business.