January 6, 2009

Xbox Has Best Year To Date In Midst Of Sluggish Economy

In spite of a global economic recession, Microsoft Corp's Xbox 360 appeared to stay strong in 2008, as the company reported the console had its best year ever.

Microsoft reported 28 million units have been sold worldwide since its introduction in late 2005. Also, the company said Xbox 360 games are seeing larger than ever sales across the globe, with heavy concentrations in Europe and Japan.

"For Xbox, 2008 will be remembered around the world as a pivotal growth year at retail and online -- even in the face of tough economic conditions," said Don Mattrick, senior vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft.

Microsoft said Xbox 360 has outsold its rival, Sony's PS3, by more than 8 million units since its introduction.

"The $199 price point (of the Xbox 360) was really critical to our success this holiday," said Aaron Greenberg, director of product management for Xbox 360.

Also Xbox Live online community now has about 17 million members. Consumer spending on the online service increased 84 percent year-over-year and more than $1 billion has been spent on the service in the past three years, according to Microsoft.

"Worldwide, a record number of players flocked to our broadest games and entertainment lineup ever, while the New Xbox Experience thrilled millions of fans by making our console even more engaging. And yet, we've only provided a glimpse into the new world of interactive entertainment that we're imagining. The best of Xbox 360 is yet to come," said Mattrick.

Most retailers reported lower earnings as compared to previous years. However, the video game market has remained cautiously optimistic throughout the current struggling economy.

Xbox 360's success could be attributed to its effort to expand the services provided by the gaming console. Microsoft took the console and tried to make it appeal to a broader audience by adding new features including the ability to stream Netflix directly from Xbox 360. The service provides Netflix subscribers with access to over 12,000 movies and TV shows.

NPD said video games sales rose 10 percent and totaled $2.91 billion in November.


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