Xbox Live Growing Really, Really Fast

A new user account on Xbox Live every 2 seconds. That’s crazy. Think about it. In the time you’ve taken to read this opening paragraph, three or four more people have set up new Xbox Live accounts.

Microsoft released the statistics last week to the London Games Conference, as reported by Develop. The headline stat was the astounding rate at which new accounts are loggin on to Live – from 50,000 users in 2002 to a rapidly expanding 35 million in 2011. That means that Xbox Live has more people (or accounts, at least) than Canada.


The other little soundbites dropped off by Robin Burrows, Xbox marketing boss, are just as fascinating. Apparently, 75 per cent of console owners use their machines to watch DVDs or Blu-rays and 72 per cent download content. That last figure sounds awfully high to me but I guess “content” might refer to DLC, downloadable games, themes, demos and trailers. In which case, 72 per cent seems a little low.

42 per cent apparently chat, use social networks and email while watching video content on their consoles. That’s a slightly confusing stat too, do they email, chat and facebook from their laptops while watching PlayTV or is the stat regarding the console’s own connections to social networks and messaging capabilities? Neither console has email ability, although the PS3 browser might cope with web based services.

All this is in service to the point that adding extra features to a service increases its user base in a big way. Xbox Live will be adding catch up TV services before 2011 is over and I’m sure they’re hoping for the exponential growth to continue.

So I guess that Robin has proven the vagueness of statistics and their effective use in marketing. Well done.

That stat about a new account every 2 seconds though, that’s still impressive.

Source: Develop



  1. is that any surprise psn has always been in the shadows of what is the behemoth of xbl.
    sure you pay for it but is plain to see where your money goes..

    • Is what a surprise, that xbl has less than half the accounts the psn does and is now adding new accounts at a rate that the psn has averaged over it’s entire life?

      • The accounts on XBL are more likely to be active as people have to pay to play online and secondly there is more parity between countries.

    • You might have fallen hook line and sinker for Microsoft PR, but anyone with a brain can work it out for themselves,

      both the Xbox360 and the PS3 have sold the same (57m consoles globally), however with a 60% failure rate for the Xbox, the actual amount of ACTIVE consoles is actually way lower than the count of ACTIVE PS3s. (which has an extremely low failure rate in the region of less than 1%). Nobody really knows, but guestimates are 55m ACTIVE PS3’s vs 40m ACTIVE Xboxes.

      Because PSN is free to access, every one of those 55m PS3’s are online ready, and 78% of PS3 owners do exactly that, play online.

      On XBox, only 56% of those 40m ACTIVE Xbox consoles think that Xbox Live is worth paying for.

      Sorry Microsoft, but trying to pretend that the world loves to pay to play online when Sony offer better for less is just silly, almost everyone can see through your spin.

  2. “Apparently, 75 per cent of console owners use their machines to watch DVDs or Blu-rays”

    Umm? Blu-Rays?

    • Dammit..took that out of context.

    • U beat me too it blu rays.

    • Xbox owners dream of a proper HD console, but the reality is, it’s only £170 away… (or the mighty £200 deal for the 320GB with a game and a movie)

  3. Hmm, I knew a guy at uni who just created a new account whenever he wanted to go online (I believe you get a free silver membership for a month or something?) so I imagine that at least partially explains it

    • yes, lots of people will have more than one account, just as lots of people have several PSN accounts. Even taking that into account, a new sign up every 2 seconds is really insane growth.

      • True, but there’s no particular incentive to sign up with multiple PSN accounts on a long term basis. For all we know, the free trial on Xbox Live could be something regularly taken advantage of, particularly by more casual gamers.

        But I do agree, even with that considered, that it is pretty rapid growth

  4. “Apparently, 75 per cent of console owners use their machines to watch DVDs or Blu-rays”

    It plays Blu-rays? Praise the Lord it is a miracle!

    • A console is available that plays Blu-rays, yes. Not a miracle, Sony R&D ;)
      Burrow’s stats, aside from sign up info, isn’t limited to the Xbox Live service. They’re all about “console” use.

  5. 35 million accounts seems a little small when they’ve sold about 57 million consoles. That means at least 40% aren’t connected to Live.

    1 new account every 2 seconds puts it at a rate of about 15 million a year. The PSN is already past 77 million accounts meaning that since its launch it has averaged 15 million new accounts a year. Considering it’s slow initial up take this would suggest that at some stage it has had a faster rate than 1 new account every 2 seconds. Live rate is fast but it needs to be kept in perspective.

    • Yeah, I wouldn’t want to pay for live. Interesting what you say about the PS3, I don’t know much about any of this. Good maths though! lol

  6. Misleading title.
    It is growing but doesn’t have a patch on PSN growth.

  7. Would love to know what percentage pay for gold though

    • Yea, figures for annual renewal would be good, then this could be compared with psn+ members.

  8. Would love to know the figures of actual active accounts on XBL and PSN. I know I have 5 XBL accounts that havnt been logged into for 4 years.

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