With Sony's social networking platform, Home, set to launch in beta Thursday, Microsoft has displayed impeccable timing in reminding everyone that it already has a robust 14 million-member online community on its Xbox 360 console.
It is no surprise that a cleaner, friendlier and better organized marketplace has spurred the sale of downloadable content. Greenberg says it's a sign that the NXE's new social features (avatars and a "party mode" that keeps players together as they move from game to game) appeal to mainstream consumers.
On average, movie downloads increased by 49% and television show downloads increased by 30% the week after the launch of the NXE. The sale of Xbox Live Arcade games tripled. And sales of "UNO"--a game released in 2006 and recently retrofitted to include Xbox's new avatars--jumped by 650% the day after the NXE launch.