Microsoft has announced at the 2007 Game Developers Conference that Xbox LIVE has reached 6 million members 4 months ahead of the original June 2007 schedule, taking full advantage of the year+ long lead in bringing a next-generation games console to the market, and no doubt causing consternation in the Sony and Nintendo camps.
Microsoft claim that they “underestimated how fast gamers would discover that the real joy of next-generation gaming is online”, and say that Xbox LIVE is “the premier online entertainment network, offers the best in online gaming, ubiquitous voice, video and text chatting, Achievements, demos, trailers and more”.
Of course, Microsoft made Xbox LIVE an even more interesting place to visit once the Xbox LIVE Video Marketplace was unleashed to US users late last year, offering TV shows in both standard and high definition formats, with the HD formats marking the first time HD content was legally available for download. TV shows include CSI, Robot Chicken and many others, while downloadable movies include Saw III and Crank, among many more.
Microsoft has also made the first ever HD episode of ‘South Park’ available for free download to the Xbox LIVE Video Marketplace community in the US, which started on March 6 and has since proven enormously popular.
Microsoft say that since the original Xbox LIVE service went live November 2002, “gamers have spent over 2.3 billion hours on the network playing games online with their friends around the world. This is equal to 95 million days of gaming or over 260,000 years. With our top title, Halo 2, which is being played on both the Xbox and Xbox 360, gamers have spent over 710 million hours playing online with over a half a billion games played”.
Microsoft continues that “Xbox LIVE on Xbox 360 continues to grow as a social community; we are seeing an average of over 2,000,000 text and voice messages sent every day between members on the service. The average Xbox LIVE Gold subscriber has 22 friends on their Xbox LIVE friends list. To date, Xbox 360 owners have unlocked nearly 300 million Achievements. All of those unlocked Achievements have created a total combined Gamerscore of nearly 7.5 billion”.
Microsoft also claim that more than 70 percent of Xbox LIVE members are downloading content from Marketplace, driving more than 135 million downloads since the launch of Xbox 360, with more than 7,000 pieces of individual gaming and entertainment content, downloadable at the click of a button.
Microsoft have so far sold in excess of 10 million Xbox 360s in 37 countries, and have over 160 games available for the console, seriously outgunning the next-gen offerings to date for Sony’s PS3 and Nintendo’s Wii. Microsoft’s latest game, Gears of War, continues its incredible sales figures, recently selling more than 4 million copies and edging close to knocking Halo and Halo 2 off the top of the Xbox sales charts.
Microsoft claim that the overall software attach rate for Xbox 360 is 4.6 titles per console in the US with a record-breaking accessory attach rate of 2.9 units per console.
The top Worldwide Xbox LIVE Titles on Xbox 360 to date:
1. Halo 2
2. Gears of War
3. Hexic HD
4. Call of Duty 2
5. Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter
6. Call Of Duty 3
9. Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six® Vegas
10. Perfect Dark Zero
(Based on the number of unique users)
Top worldwide Xbox LIVE Arcade titles on Xbox 360 to date (based on total number of full game downloads):
1. Street Fighter II' Hyper Fighting
2. Bankshot Billiards 2
3. Marble Blast Ultra