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(Pocket-lint) - Industry analysts suggest that Xbox Series X / Series S console sales have now surpassed 12 million, with the Microsoft company reporting record annual revenue figures for 2021.

Xbox's earnings soared to $16.28 billion during the previous calendar year, which represents an increase of 17.07%.

As evidenced by video game analytics firm Niko Partners, revenue from hardware rose by just over 63%, generating a total of $3.7 billion. This points to a very strong performance for the Xbox consoles since release, though it's not quite enough to surmount PlayStation 5 sales, with Sony indicating it shipped 13.4 million units back in September 2021.

As Xbox's recent $68.7 billion deal to buy Activision Blizzard showed, though, it's not all about hardware.

Content and services for the Microsoft gaming division was its biggest earner in 2021, up 8.8% year-on-year and reaching $12.6 billion. Naturally, the continued development of Game Pass and first-party game sales would have been the key drivers to this figure.

So, what can we expect from the company in 2022? 

Aside from wrapping up the mammoth deal to purchase Activision Blizzard - which, apparently, won't lead to Call of Duty becoming an Xbox exclusive, as the next three games look set to appear on PlayStation - it seems that Xbox is focusing on producing as many consoles as possible in order to meet demand. 

Speaking to the New York Times earlier this month, Xbox boss Phil Spencer referenced demand as the key issue behind ongoing stock scarcity.

"When you think about trying to go get an Xbox or a new PlayStation right now in the market, they’re really hard to find," they said.

"And it’s not because supply is smaller than it’s ever been. Supply is actually as big as it’s ever been. It’s that demand is exceeding the supply for all of us.

"At this point, we’ve sold more of this generation of Xboxes, which is Xbox Series X and S, than we had any previous version of Xboxes. So it’s our job to get the supply there to meet that demand."

There's no doubt it's going to be a big year for Xbox again in 2022 - will it continue to loosen Sony's grip on the gaming industry?

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Writing by Conor Allison.