Virtually every Xbox Live Starter Kit at retail locations across the United States and Canada has sold out in less than one week of availability, but new shipments of Starter Kits are already on retail shelves and will be replenished throughout the holiday season. For $49.95 (estimated retail price), the Xbox Live Starter Kit includes a one-year subscription to the Xbox Live service, an Xbox TM Communicator headset and two online trial versions: "MotoGP" from THQ and "Whacked!TM" from Microsoft Game Studios. In addition, a diverse lineup of nine great Xbox Live-enabled games are available at retail, including "Unreal Championship" from Infogrames Inc., "MechAssaultTM" from Microsoft Game Studios, and "SEGA SportsTM NBA 2K3" from SEGA. "SEGA SportsTM NFL 2K3" and "SEGA SportsTM NHL® 2K3" are also available at retail.
Sales of Xbox Live-enabled games also have shot up as much as 120 percent* in the last week, and Xbox hardware sales have experienced an 18 percent week-over-week increase in the first week of Xbox Live Starter Kit availability, building on strong demand driven by a holiday offer that includes the console, DVD remote and two games for $199 (ERP).
"Wow, what a first week! More people played Xbox Live in its first week than attended the last two Super Bowls, and have played more games in one week than in the entire history of the National Football League, National Basketball Associations, National Hockey League and Major League Baseball combined. Game players have loudly demonstrated they can't find enough hours in the day to compete in the online arena," said J Allard, general manager of Xbox at Microsoft. "It's been amazing to talk to and play with and against so many players all over the United States and Canada, and this is just the beginning of the online revolution that will fundamentally change video games and digital entertainment forever."
"We sold out our entire inventory of Xbox Live Starter Kits almost immediately, and we've seen increases in sales of both Xbox hardware and software as well," said Dan DeMatteo, president of GameStop Inc. "Xbox is clearly very popular this holiday season."
Xbox Live represents the next step in video games, in which people from around the world come together in an online arena to play sports, action and racing games with friends and rivals, and talk with each other as they play. In just one week on Xbox Live, 200,000 online game players and their friends did the following:
Completed more than 5 million games, approximately 500 games per minute
Played more than 1 million hours of gameplay. That's more than 114 years worth of straight gameplay in just one week.
Played more games than have been played in the history of the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB combined
On Nov. 30, game players in France, Germany and the United Kingdom will enter the Xbox Live online arena as part of an Xbox Live Test Drive in those countries. Xbox Live players will be able to compete in cross-Atlantic battles of "MotoGP." On March 14, 2003, the one-year anniversary of the Xbox console in Europe, Xbox Live will launch in eight European countries: France, Germany and the United Kingdom, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden. In Japan, players of Xbox Live are currently conducting a beta test of the service and will be able to enter the global online arena on Jan. 16, 2003.