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Q&A: Microsoft Discusses Xbox 360 Live Stats

Q&A: Microsoft Discusses Xbox 360 Live Stats

March 10, 2006 | By Simon Carless

March 10, 2006 | By Simon Carless
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More: Console/PC

Following a Microsoft promotional tour that landed in San Francisco yesterday, representatives for the Xbox 360 creator have released a number of new statistics to Gamasutra regarding the console's Xbox Live service, which has been one of the highlights of the next-gen console's debut.

In particular, the company revealed that they have served over 9 million worldwide downloads on the Xbox Live Marketplace, including both free demos and pay-to-download items, since the late November console launch, from 85% of those Xbox 360 consoles that have connected online.

Game demos remain the most popular items, with over 2 million downloads of Xbox 360 game demos to date. Thus far, according to Microsoft representatives, Fight Night Round III has been the most popular demo, with over 400,000 downloads.

The company also revealed the top 5 Xbox 360 games played over Xbox Live worldwide, as follows:

1. Call Of Duty 2 (Activision)
2. Perfect Dark Zero (Microsoft)
3. Project Gotham Racing 3 (Microsoft)
4. Need For Speed: Most Wanted (EA)
5. Dead Or Alive 4 (Tecmo)

Overall, Microsoft explained, over half of all Xbox 360s sold worldwide are already connected to Xbox Live, and the average number of 'gaming sessions' per week for Xbox 360 users is 25. In addition, over 600,000 text messages are exchanged every day between Xbox Live members.

The company's Xbox Live Arcade service and pay-for-download services has also done well thus far, with one in five of all connected consumers using Microsoft Points to buy items or games, and conversion rates (from trial download to purchase) running at an average of 20% - and as high as 36%.

In addition, the company released a list of its Top 5 Xbox Live Arcade titles to date, in terms of sales, as follows:

1. Geometry Wars
2. Gauntlet
3. Smash TV
4. Bejeweled II
5. Zuma

Since Microsoft also mentions that over 3 million downloads of Xbox Live Arcade games have been made to date, this shows at least 600,000 Xbox Live Arcade games must have been purchased thus far. Over 60% of connected gamers have downloaded a trial version of an Xbox Live Arcade title.

In addition, Gamasutra took the opportunity to clarify a number of other points regarding Xbox Live and Microsoft's plans with representatives of the company.

The company's developer-centric OpenLSP network programming infrastructure was discussed briefly, which enables enhanced online features programmed by developers themselves, and constructed without Microsoft (which runs Xbox Live) having to work directly on them. Third-party companies such as Electronic Arts are taking advantage of this with games like Burnout Revenge, which routes through Xbox Live but also runs partly on EA's own servers, with complex online features including crash clip leaderboards.

In addition, the full line-up of Microsoft's internal game development studios (Microsoft Game Studios) was clarified, with UK-based Rare, Seattle-based FASA, Bungie, and the Microsoft racing game studio all working on yet to be announced titles, and Tokyo-headquartered Microsoft Game Studios Asia now expanding to work closely with Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi and his Mistwalker team on RPG Blue Dragon.

Finally, the company indicated that it would be making more announcements regarding its developer-centric plans at Game Developers Conference later this month, seemingly likely to resolve around XNA and its XNA Studio software suite. Microsoft's Chris Satchell hinted last year that versions of the tool might be initially available at GDC 2006, but Microsoft representative were unable to confirm or deny this suggestion as of press time.

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