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Microsoft: Xbox 360 widens lead over PlayStation 3

January 5, 2009 |  5:57 pm
Banjo Kazooie

Microsoft said today that it had sold more than 28 million Xbox 360s since introducing the game console in November 2005. That compares with more than 20 million PlayStation 3 consoles sold by Sony since it debuted the device in November 2006, according to Microsoft executives.

"We're widening our lead against PlayStation 3," said Aaron Greenberg, director of product management for the Xbox, who noted that going into the fourth quarter, Microsoft's lead had been 5 million consoles. "This was the best year in the history of the Xbox, despite the tough economy."

Greenberg credited last year's growth to a lineup of exclusive games, including Gears of War 2, Left for Dead and Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts.

He also credited the company's online game service, Xbox Live. The company said it now has 17 million Xbox Live subscribers who can use their consoles to find online opponents, download games or watch movies and TV shows. Though many Xbox Live subscribers opt for the free version of the service, Greenberg said that the majority pay $50 a year for the premium service, which includes the ability for Netflix members to view the service's Instant Watch movies and television shows for free.

Microsoft said online sales on the service, such as movie rentals and downloads of TV shows and games, jumped 84% in 2008 from 2007. The Redmond, Wash., company said consumers have spent more than $1 billion on Xbox Live, but it did not say how much of that was spent in 2008.

"It's a huge part of our business," Greenberg said. "And it's a quickly growing portion of our business."

How did the others do? NPD Group plans to release its sales number for the video game industry next week.

-- Alex Pham

Photo credit: Microsoft

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