As evidence of online gameplay's mass appeal and growing importance in the digital entertainment landscape, Xbox Live reached the million-member mark three times faster than other subscriber-based entertainment services such as Home Box Office Inc., America Online Inc. and TiVo Inc.
Microsoft, which introduced the first broadly adapted online gaming service in November 2002 with the launch of Xbox Live, continues to expand the appeal and adoption of broadband. New Xbox Live feature introductions like video chat, content downloads, voice messages and alerts, coupled with highly anticipated games, have fueled rapid uptake and catapulted online gaming into mainstream entertainment. Much has happened since the service was unveiled:
- Players in 24 countries have spent more than 160 million hours (or 20,000 years) playing Xbox Live.
- Members are playing an average of 265,549 hours every day.
- More than 100 game titles from a host of top publishers including Electronic Arts Inc., Microsoft Game Studios, THQ and Ubisoft
- Entertainment are playable on Xbox Live, and the number is expected to rise to 150 by the end of the calendar year.
- Players have logged more than 220 million online sessions, an average of 10.5 million sessions per month.
- More than 200 pieces of downloadable content are currently available to expand and enhance already great games, including new levels, new characters, new multiplayer modes and updated sports rosters.
- The top 15 cities worldwide boasting the most Xbox Live members are Tokyo; London; Houston; Chicago; Toronto; San Diego; New York; Brooklyn, N.Y.; Los Angeles; Miami; Seattle; Calgary, Alberta, Canada; San Antonio; Las Vegas; and Seoul, Korea.
"Consumers are clearly choosing Xbox Live online video games as the new digital entertainment nirvana," said Microsoft Senior Vice President of the Home and Entertainment Division and Chief Xbox Officer Robbie Bach. "Our community has reached a million members in record time, and we've got hot new games and expanded features that will continue to feed our customer's almost insatiable appetite for online play."
This fall, Xbox Live membership promises to grow even more as several blockbuster franchises hit the service. Electronic Arts Inc.'s lineup of popular titles, including "Madden Football 2005," "NCAA Football 2005" and "FIFA Soccer 2005," will be Xbox Live-enabled, as will "Halo 2,"Microsoft Game Studios' much-anticipated sequel to the best-selling Xbox title of all time.
Also this fall, Xbox Live members can enjoy a selection of quick and easy casual games via a new feature called Xbox Live Arcade. Classic card, puzzle, trivia, retro and action arcade games from publishers such as Atari Corp. and Namco Ltd. will be featured in the Arcade, giving gamers yet another innovative way to play together online.
"Great game content has been and will continue to be the key to the success of Xbox Live," said Cameron Ferroni, general manager of Xbox Live. "What really sets the service apart from others is that we make it incredibly easy for consumers to get online, find their friends, join a game and start playing right away; Xbox Live is a great experience every time they play, regardless of what they play."
Xbox Live is currently available in 24 countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.