Ten million strong and growing. In an effort to rival the popularity of even Flintstones vitamins, Xbox 360 has sold 10 million units to consumers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa in only four years. This is the highest of any console for year-on-year growth in the region.
“Xbox 360 continues to pull ahead of the competition when it comes to delivering on a complete home entertainment experience, and we think that Xbox Live currently is about 12 to 18 months ahead of its main rival, PlayStation Network, when it comes to offering service and content beyond traditional games,” said Martin Olausson, Director of Digital Media Research at Strategy Analytics.
“By introducing innovative new services and content such as Natal, instant streaming of full 1080P HD video, and integrating social media features such as Twitter and Facebook, Xbox will likely attract a wider audience than its rivals and is in a great position to maximize sales in the next few years.”
Next week’s launch of the new Xbox LIVE update, on November 17, holds the same date in Europe as in North America and will introduce more social networking into the premium service. There are currently over 20 million active Xbox LIVE accounts worldwide and over 1 billion content downloads.
“Reinventing entertainment through, play, watch, connect and share. This is the vision that we have for Xbox 360 and today that vision is the reality for 10 million Xbox owners. European consumers are very discerning and demand a connected entertainment experience. That’s why we focused on providing content that is right and relevant for them and entertainment beyond just gaming to movies, music and social networking,” said Chris Lewis, VP Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft Europe.
The eventual arrival of “Project Natal” should make Xbox an even more popular choice for home entertainment, competing with the Nintendo Wii as a casual gamer’s console of choice. Natal, Microsoft’s answer to the motion sensing craze with a completely controller-free experience, may need to raise the bar to compete with the well-established Wii. And while it may not be possible to break your television screen with Natal’s non-existent controller, I’m sure somebody, somewhere, will find a way to hurt themselves.