And in what the hell sense is the Xbox brand a dismal failure?
These are all published numbers. Google them yourself.
XBox development costs: 24 billion
RROD writedown: 1.1 billion
Xbox division losses as at 2007: 5 billion
OK, so by 2007 the Xbox brand was worth negative 30 billion dollars. Earnings since then:
2008: +426 million (first profit for Xbox in a calendar year! yay!)
2009: +169 million
2010 +165 million
2011: +210 million
2012: -229 million (ruh-roh, Raggy)
So for Xbox 360's prime earning years, it made 741 million dollars. That doesn't even pay back the 1.1 billion writedown on the RROD fiasco. Let alone the 30 billion dollars Xbox was already in the red.
Negative thirty billion plus zero point seven four one billion equals TRAINWRECK BLACK-HOLE DISASTER.
Microsoft tries to deflect attention from overall Xbox performance by either mixing its numbers up in the greater Home and Entertainment reports, by emphasising "revenue" or "units shipped" or "market share", or by fixating on a small time period - that's how you get shit descriptors like "Microsoft's usually profitable games unit". Yeah, usual in the sense that the unit made annual profits for four straight years. It just cost Microsoft's shareholders thirty billion dollars in the years before that.
OK, how about some more recent numbers:
Summary: Xbox costs Microsoft two billion dollars a year.
Yep, that's right, Microsoft spent thirty billion dollars setting up a business unit that runs at a loss of two billion dollars a year.
By any sensible reckoning Xbox is arguably the greatest disaster in the history of the tech industry. Microsoft's just good at covering it up.