Over the course of five years, Microsoft’s original Xbox video game console sold some 25 million units. Earlier this year, the company forecast that sales of its current Xbox 360 offering would surpass the 25 million mark by the end of November, 2008, and the CFO of Microsoft’s entertainment and devices division Mindy Mount re-iterated the prediction just last week. But now the company has confirmed privately that Xbox 360 sales have indeed surpassed those of the original Xbox. And there’s one big difference: the original Xbox took five years to reach the milestone, while the Xbox 360 did it in three years.
Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console has seen a surge in sales following a recent price drop, so that the company can claim it is giving the PlayStation 3 a solid run for its money in Europe, particularly in the UK, France, Germany, Russia, and Spain.
By way of comparison, Sony’s PlayStation 2—which the Sony is still selling as a gaming platform—have exceeded 140 million units worldwide. And as of September 2008, Nintendo’s Wii console—which debuted a year after the Xbox 360—had sold nearly 35 million units worldwide. Nonetheless, Microsoft’s Xbox platform has proven to be very lucrative for the Redmond company (despite having to set aside over a billion dollars for warranty repairs on failing consoles) due in part to the success of Xbox Live. Gold membership in Xbox Live costs $50 per year and has already earned Microsoft over $1 billion in revenue, as Xbox players seek out other players to compete with online, collect trophies, download and purchase content, and—with the New Xbox Experience—spend hours tweaking their avatars.