From Sioux Falls to Seoul, Xbox Live gamers are celebrating the one-year anniversary of the fastest growing unified broadband gaming service ever. A vibrant and growing community half a million strong, Xbox Live gamers have an insatiable appetite for riveting, interactive and social game experiences. A recently released survey by Zelos Group finds that more than 25 percent of owners of Xbox(R) are likely to go online this holiday season, compared to just under 15 percent of PS2 owners. Are X-box players bigger gamers, better surfers or simply more grown up?
Well, yes, yes and not exactly. Because of its built-in Ethernet port and strong portfolio of Xbox Live-enabled titles, Xbox is the console of choice for gamers anxious to join the online trend. Illustrating demand for the online-ready console, But Yahoo! also announced this month that Xbox was named the No. 1 toy on the Yahooligans! Top Ten Toys list, beating out Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance SP and Sony’s PS2 for the top slot.
Three of the five top-selling Xbox games at retail last month are online-enabled, with two of those being Xbox Live exclusives.(2) One Xbox Live blockbuster in October — “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six(R) 3” from Ubisoft — is attracting record numbers of gamers to the Xbox Live service. In a single, 24- hour period just days after release of “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3,” new records were set on Xbox Live, when online gamers spent more than a quarter of a million hours playing the game. That’s more than 30 years of consecutive playing all in a single day.
November promises to be another big month for online games, with 14 Xbox Live titles slated to hit store shelves including highly anticipated games such as “Project Gotham Racing(R) 2” and “Counter-Strike(TM),” both from Microsoft Game Studios, and “Star Wars(R) Jedi Knight(R): Jedi Academy(TM)” from LucasArts. By year’s end, there will be more than 70 Xbox Live titles available at retail.
“With one year of Xbox Live service under our belt, we’ve built a thriving community of passionate gamers, 92 percent of who say they would recommend the service to a friend,(3)” said Robbie Bach, chief Xbox officer. “Seeing online gaming really taking off this holiday season validates our vision for the future. Considering the aggressive worldwide rollout schedule for Xbox Live and the breadth of online games, our projection of one million Xbox Live subscribers by June 2004 is right on track.”
And given the recently announced Xbox holiday offer, gift givers can make online gaming wishes come true without breaking the bank. In the first five weeks of the Xbox holiday offer, retailers reported to Microsoft Corp. that sales have increased 54 percent on a weekly run-rate basis. The $179.99(4) (U.S.) special promotion includes the powerful Xbox console, a two-month trial subscription(5) to the Xbox Live service, and two popular Live-enabled games — Star Wars(R): The Clone Wars(TM)” from LucasArts and THQ Inc.’s “Tetris(R) Worlds(TM) Live.”
Online gaming also is proving to have worldwide appeal. Xbox Live rolled out to eight new countries in October and now encompasses a global community of 19 countries. In Korea, consumers clamored so much for the coveted Xbox Live service that the major retailers reported selling out of Xbox Live starter kits in the first 48 hours, driving the fastest attach rate and highest connectivity rate in Xbox Live history.
With its unified service approach, Xbox Live allows gamers to easily find their friends online, talk to other players during game play, match up with players of any skill level and play their favorite games with competition from around the world. [24×7]