NEWS - Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Microsoft Boasts 2 Million Xbox Live Subscribers

Microsoft Boasts 2 Million Xbox Live Subscribers Microsoft proudly announced today that 2 million people worldwide are now Xbox Live members. The company says that it’s been able to double its subscriber base in only one year. The rate at which people have been signing up for Live equates to one new subscriber every 30 seconds according to MS. During the Electronic Entertainment Expo this May Microsoft said that it was fast approaching the 2 million figure for subscribers to its Xbox Live online network. Today the company announced that it has reached this important member milestone. Ever since the Xbox launched online gaming has been stressed as one of the key selling points for the console. Indeed, it now appears that the Xbox business’ greatest strength is the Xbox Live network and community and Live has become a focal point for the Xbox 360’s campaign as well. Microsoft was originally criticized for its decision to make Xbox Live compatible with broadband only, but it doesn’t seem like the business has been hurt by this choice. In fact, penetration of broadband Internet in American homes has reached almost 60 percent according to Nielsen/NetRatings. New Xbox Live member every 30 seconds According to Microsoft, the Xbox Live service has grown "exponentially." Now with 2 million gamers playing against each other around the globe, Microsoft said that it’s doubled its Xbox Live membership in just one year, which is "the equivalent to adding one Xbox Live member every 30 seconds." To put that in perspective, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the national birth rate in America last year was about one baby born every 8 seconds. [ "... gamers can move their Xbox Live memberships seamlessly from Xbox to Xbox 360, while still enjoying online games and entertainment on the current-generation system." ] Microsoft attributes the growth of Xbox Live to gamers’ desire for social online experiences, an expanding library of online enabled games, and an increase in the amount of downloadable extras that players can access over the network. Microsoft claims that More than 20 million pieces of content—such as new levels, weapons, maps, etc.—have been downloaded to date. One of the biggest boosts no doubt came during the holiday shopping season last year, when Halo 2 was flying off the shelves. "Reaching the 2 million member milestone in such a short time speaks volumes about the depth and vibrancy of the Xbox Live community," commented Robbie Bach, senior vice president of the Home and Entertainment Division and chief Xbox officer. "This enormous growth is a true testament to the compelling content and engaging experiences enabled through Xbox Live today. The service is inspired by the creative power of the individual and fueled by the passion of a worldwide community." Transitioning to 360 Microsoft also stressed the fact that current Xbox Live subscribers should have no problem transferring their accounts to the Xbox 360 if they should choose to buy the next-gen console when it launches later this year. Additionally, using Live on 360 doesn’t mean players can no longer play Xbox Live games on the original Xbox. "Because Xbox Live is a universal service between both platforms, gamers can move their Xbox Live memberships seamlessly from Xbox to Xbox 360, while still enjoying online games and entertainment on the current-generation system," states the press release. Microsoft said that Perfect Dark Zero, Project Gotham Racing 3, Madden NFL 06, Dead or Alive 4 and Call of Duty 2 are expected to be ready for the 360’s launch period. Combining both Xbox and Xbox 360, more than 300 multiplayer games will be available worldwide by this Christmas. Interestingly, despite rumors suggesting that the Xbox 360 might miss its holiday 2005 launch in Japan, Microsoft still indicates that it’s on track to ship the 360 this Christmas in North America, Europe and Japan.


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