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Xbox Live goes gangbusters in US

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gamesindustry.biz logo Xbox Live is dominating the early online gaming comparisons in the US, Microsoft proclaims. Since the service launched on November 15, 250,000 starter kits have been sold - double Microdsoft's original stated expectations.

This is great news for Microsoft, whose investment in Xbox Live will run into the billions. In further good news, MS claims that each gamer is totting up an average of 2.5 hours of gameplay per day.

Microsoft also wheeled out stat-toting chums the NPD Group, which reportedly put Xbox Live starter kit sales 86 per cent above Sony’s PS2 network adapter sales for each service’s respective first month.

Last November, Microsoft announced it had sold 150,000 starter kits in the service's first week, making it the most popular subscription-based broadband service in existence. (Never mind gaming circles, where it’s totally unequalled.)

Microsoft Chief Xbox Officer Robbie Bach used the news of Live’s success to justify claims that MS is No.2 in this industry. "Already, more than a quarter of a million people have discovered the thrill of Xbox Live, and we expect exciting growth over the next several months as these passionate endorsers share their experiences with friends and family."

However, despite heavy discounting and bundling over Christmas, overall Microsoft's Xbox sales still lag behind sales of Nintendo GameCube in Europe. MS and Nintendo have shipped roughly 1.4 million and 1.5 million units respectively.

Clearly, Microsoft thinks that Xbox Live will be enough to take second place once and for all across the continent when it goes 'Live' in March, and it's a popular opinion. Analysts this week suggested that Xbox could edge GameCube by a margin of 2.6 million units to 2.2 million units in 2003, Reuters reports. © gamesindustry.biz

But of course, neither company has a hope of catching Sony, unless they have some ill-conceived plan to start bundling ricin with their machine, perhaps.

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