NEWS - Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Xbox Has Sold Over 3.7 Million

Based on industry-standard, independent statistics from research firms Chart-Track and GfK] and on the recent Microsoft results announcement, Xbox, the future generation video game system from Microsoft, today announced new sales data that demonstrates its ever-strengthening position in the video game console market. Second-quarter financial results announced by Microsoft show that Xbox has sold more than 3.7 million consoles life-to-date in Europe up to 31st December 2003. Sales were buoyed by fantastic-value offers at retail as well as great games such as Project Gotham Racing 2, Top Spin, Crimson Skies, Counter-Strike (all Microsoft Game Studios), Need for Speed: Underground (Electronic Arts), Rainbow Six 3 (Ubi Soft) and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (LucasArts). Over the 2003 calendar year, Xbox achieved year-on-year growth in market share in Europe, putting it in a clear number-two position in the video game console market. In the UK, Xbox passed the one-million console mark the first week of December 2003 and was the only video games console to achieve positive growth (6%) year-on year (CY03 v. CY02). Xbox closed out the calendar year with cumulative worldwide shipments of 13.7 million consoles since launch, and continues to be on track to meet its worldwide shipment goal of 14.5-16M units by the end of FY 04 in June. In the US, 8.6 million Xbox consoles have been sold, with 1.4 million sold in Asia Pacific. The great games in the Xbox portfolio contributed to the success. Xbox achieved a software attach rate of 5.2 in Europe in 2003, a testament to the fantastic choice of games offered by Xbox. Xbox achieved this attach rate in less than two years – no other console in this generation has reached this attach rate level so quickly in its lifecycle. More than four million copies of the legendary Halo have been sold to date worldwide, with 500,000 sold just in the nine weeks of the main Christmas season – a considerable achievement for a game that has been on the market for over two years and a testament to the incredible gaming experiences that Xbox offers. More than 300 games are now available for Xbox in Europe, and 2004 brings highly anticipated titles such as Halo 2, Fable, BC, (all Microsoft Game Studios), Ninja Gaiden, Dead or Alive Ultimate (both Tecmo), Breakdown (Namco), Full Spectrum Warrior (THQ) and Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow (Ubi Soft). Xbox Live, now available in 14 European countries, also had a great Christmas. Bolstered by fantastic Xbox Live titles such as Project Gotham Racing 2, Rainbow Six 3 and Top Spin, more than 100,000 European gamers are regularly experiencing the unique social and gaming thrills that only Xbox Live can offer. In total, nearly 750,000 gamers around the world have joined the growing Xbox Live community, keeping the business on target to have one million subscribers by the end of the fiscal year. Xbox is Europe’s premier online gaming platform, as demonstrated by independent brand tracking research in December 2003. The research shows Xbox Live is significantly ahead of the competition as Europe’s first choice for online gaming The most-played Xbox Live titles over Christmas were Project Gotham Racing 2 (Microsoft Game Studios), followed by Rainbow Six 3 (Ubi Soft), Counter-Strike and Top Spin (both Microsoft Game Studios). In total, 50 Live-enabled games are now available for Xbox in Europe, with 70 expected to be available in Europe by the end of June. The global Xbox Live community logged an impressive 4.5 million hours of game play, or 500,000 hours per day, over Christmas. In a different five day stretch, gamers chalked up more than one million unique game sessions per day. A social bunch, Xbox Live gamers have an average of 11 "friends" in their Friends List. "We are pleased that so many gamers found it was good to play together with Xbox this Christmas," said Eduardo Rosini, regional vice president, home and entertainment division, Microsoft. "Our increasing market share is great news for us. The steady increase in Xbox gamers over the year proves our strategy of offering consumers exactly what they wanted has paid off - a competitively-priced console, with more power than any other console on the market, a killer games portfolio and a built-in broadband adapter for instant online gaming with Xbox Live. We are looking forward to seeing our number two position in the market going from strength to strength, and we’re right on track to hit our worldwide shipment goal of 14.5-16 million units by the end of June 2004. The choice gamers had to make at Christmas was a tough one but the numbers show that Xbox was the first choice for a significant number of people." European gamers showed their support for Xbox with near sell-out sales of the console in the region. A limited edition Xbox Christmas offer of an Xbox, Halo, Midtown Madness 3 and a two-month Xbox Live subscription for £139.99/€199.99 (RRP) also proved a winner with gamers across Europe. Many stores sold out of stock before Christmas. Scott Dodkins, senior vice president of European publishing at Activision added, "We believe that this Christmas has really established Xbox in the minds of European gamers as a choice to PlayStation. The success of the Xbox formats of our multi-format franchises, such as True Crime and Tony Hawk’s Underground have managed to surprise even ourselves, whilst exclusive titles like the award winning Knights of The Old Republic from LucasArts and Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy have proved more successful than we had hoped for. As a publisher we believe that gamers can only benefit from the healthy competition between platforms and the sales over Christmas indicate that gamers believe that too."

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