In the last six years, there's been one constant when discussing Microsoft's foray into the strange and seductive world of video game console manufacturing: they had yet to turn a profit on any of it. No more, with today's announcement of Microsoft's second quarter earnings which showed a relatively impressive six-month income of $524 million (compared to a $423m loss during the same period last year) from the the Xbox's Entertainment and Devices Division.
Before you go thinking that was all thanks to the Zune and PC game sales, the company's 10-Q filing states that the EDD's increased revenue was "primarily due to increased Xbox 360 platform sales." During the last six months they say Xbox platform and PC game revenue increased 35% as a result of "increased Xbox 360 console sales, video game sales led by Halo 3, Xbox Live revenues, and Xbox 360 accessory sales." (Sounds like EDD bossman Robbie Bach nailed it).
The 6.1 million Xbox 360 consoles and 4.82 million copies of Halo 3 sold in the first half of fiscal '08 sure helped, but so did "decreased Xbox 360 manufacturing costs" and "a decline in Xbox 360 platform marketing expenses" – it's costing less to build them and less to promote the brand. But they'll need to hold on far longer than one quarter to make their sojourn into the living rooms of America worthwhile; for the rest of fiscal '08 they "expect revenue to increase due to increased sales of Xbox 360 consoles and related games, accessories, and services." Yup, that sounds about right.