I won’t be able to transcribe my interview with Microsoft entertainment
president Robbie Bach (who oversees videogames, amongst other things)
until tonight, most likely. But between my talk to him, Microsoft’s
keynote last night, and Sony’s keynote today (which included a section
with Playstation topper Kaz Hirai talking videogames), I got a few
interesting statistics worth comparing:
-Number of worldwide members of Microsoft’s online videogame service
Xbox Live: 17 million. Number of registered accounts on Sony’s
competing Playstation Network: 17 million. (Even though there are
substantially fewers PS3s on the market than Xbox 360s, Sony does have
the advantage of people going onto PSN from the PSP. In addition, PSN
is free to play online, but Xbox Live costs money, though anyone can
“join” just to browse downloadable content)
-In the last three months of 2008, Microsoft added 3 million Xbox Live
members. In December, Sony added 2.1 million Playstation Network
-Playstation Network users have downloaded more than 330 million pieces
of content. Microsoft’s content downloads went up 70% since it launched
the new version of Xbox Live in November (not comparable, I know)
-Over 25 million “Halo” games have been sold and the average player
spends more than 150 hours online (given that some people don’t play
online, that means some people have played a lot more than 150 hours.
-More than 1.3 million “unique users” have played “LittleBigPlanet.”
Note that this is not the same as Sony saying it has sold 1.3 million
units of the game. There are more than 300,000 user-created levels
already. It would take two straight years, non-stop, to play them all.
-Over 80% of all “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band” downloads have been on
Xbox Live, which means only about 20% are on Playstation Network.
Microsoft says it has sold over 60 million song downloads. Assuming
that just an infinitismal number of those are for new karaoke game
“Lips,” that means Sony has sold about 12 million songs on PSN for
those two franchises (and probably a few million more for its
“Singstar” karaoke franchise).