xboxMicrosoft announced today (May 28) that sales of Xbox 360 consoles have passed the 30 million mark globally, with its Xbox LIVE community swelling to more than 20 million active members. The gaming system has achieved 28% growth in 2009. 

As the global video games market has been growing, in January Microsoft had revealed that life-to-date unit sales of Xbox 360 systems climbed to 28 million consoles worldwide. With price starting at $199, Xbox 360 offers games, TV shows, and movies to consumers. Other companies are also playing aggressively in the market.

In December last year, Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) released PlayStation Home Beta service for PlayStation 3. PlayStation Home is a 3D social gaming community available on PS3 that allows users to interact, communicate, and share gaming experiences. PlayStation Home delivers visual graphics and rich gaming social experiences on the PS3 platform.

In February, SCE said that the cumulative number of registered accounts on PlayStation Network worldwide had exceeded 20 million. It was launched in Nov. 2006.

Microsoft says the success of the platform can be measured across the business, with Xbox LIVE expanding as an entertainment network. It allows consumers to connect with friends, download and enjoy movies and TV shows, and extend the life of their favorite games.

Over the course of this console generation, the company informs, U.S. consumers alone have spent $14.5 billion across all categories on Xbox 360 at retail. To date, consumers have downloaded nearly 1 billion pieces of gaming and entertainment content from Xbox LIVE Marketplace, including a broad array of high- and standard-definition movies and TV shows.

In addition, Microsoft says, Xbox 360 is being used as a leading platform for games, generating $5.9 billion in sales to date at U.S. retail for third-party publishers.

Along with games, the addition of entertainment content on the box is among the factors for its increasing market acceptance. For example, online movie rental service, Netflix, said that Netflix members can have thousands of movies and TV episodes instantly streamed to the TV via the Xbox 360 with the New Xbox Experience.  

Microsoft believes that activity on Xbox LIVE, an online gaming and entertainment service, surged following the launch of the New Xbox Experience in November 2008.

The popularity of console-based games can be assessed from the fact that Halo 3, a video game developed for Microsoft Xbox 360 console, grossed $300 million worldwide in its first week of launch. Even a Hollywood blockbuster will be thrilled to generate this kind of revenue.

According to DFC Intelligence, a global digital games market tracker, combined cumulative worldwide sales for Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3, and Nintendo Wii systems are expected to be 180-210 million units by 2012.

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About Rakesh Raman

Have extensive editorial, content management, and integrated communications experience and have worked as a senior tech journalist, analyst, and columnist with different newspapers, magazines, and Web/online properties in India.

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