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Microsoft: 3 million Xbox One consoles sold

But the pace of purchases has dropped off dramatically since the first three weeks after the Xbox One went on sale.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read
Microsoft's Xbox One racked up sales of 3 million units to close out 2013.
Microsoft's Xbox One racked up sales of 3 million units to close out 2013. CNET

Consumers bought more than 3 million Xbox One consoles before the end of last year, Microsoft said on Monday.

In a blog flaunting the new feat, Yusuf Mehdi, Xbox marketing vice president, revealed that more than 3 million were sold to consumers across 13 countries before 2013 came to a close. The Xbox executive called that a "record-setting pace for Xbox" following its distinction as the fastest-selling game console in the U.S. during its November launch month.

Mehdi said that Microsoft has been delighted by the response of Xbox One owners who raced through Prague streets in "Forza Motorsport 5," cooked up weapons to destroy zombies in "Dead Rising 3," explored the Colosseum in "Ryse: Son of Rome," and helped their kids design their own zoo in "Zoo Tycoon."

Xbox One titles due to land in 2014 include "Titanfall," "Watch Dogs," "Project Spark," "Sunset Overdrive," "Tom Clancy's The Division," "The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt," "Destiny," "Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare," and "The Elder Scrolls Online."

Xbox One sales sound impressive so far. But are they? On December 11, Microsoft announced that 2 million Xbox One units had been sold over an 18-day period since the launch on November 22. That means only 1 million flew off the shelves in the subsequent 22 days before the end of 2013.

Of course, sales of new and eagerly awaited products like the Xbox One often dip following their initial launch. But most of those 1 million in sales came just before Christmas, so the numbers certainly could have been higher.

The Xbox One has frustrated early adopters with a range of issues, including faulty disc drives, updates that fail to install, and must-have features that are MIA. New products often are beset by glitches and missing features, but many buyers who paid $500 for the new console have been upset.

Microsoft director of programming for Xbox Live Larry Hryb, aka Major Nelson, told Canada.com last week that the company is committed to enhancing the Xbox One.

"If you look back at the Xbox 360's launch, what it was in 2005 when it launched is completely different from what it is now," Hryb said. "It's fascinating to see the different things that have come along. Things iterated. We didn't even have things like the party system or the ability to support external storage when we launched the Xbox 360. So we are absolutely committed to adding new features to the Xbox One over the course of its life span."