XBox Live News

By Neil McCormick

Last week I received a press release regarding Xbox Live and the uptake of the features included in the latest dashboard update. Contained within, there were several interesting statistics, worth sharing.

Xbox LIVE Community has grown to more than 20 Million Active Members.

Facebook & Twitter + Xbox LIVE = New Social Connections. In less than a week, nearly two million people logged in to their Facebook accounts through Xbox LIVE Twitter was also abuzz with the Xbox LIVE community posting tweets from around the globe.

1.7 million Xbox LIVE members visited Zune on Xbox LIVE

More than 2.2 million unique gamers played “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2” in one day on November 10th – a new one-day record for Xbox LIVE.

The problem with statistics is, whilst the figures remain absolute, they can be used to support or contradict a point of view and are as a result open to interpretation.

Bear in mind this was the launch of new features on the dashboard. The first statistic, that there are over 20 million users of xbox live , yet of that 20 million less than 2 million were using the new features in the first week. To knock it down a stage further, that is less than 1 in ten members of xbox live, used the features in the first week. Maybe I am being pessamistic, but surely the new features should see its greatest uplift in the first week? People will want to try the new features and see what they make of them. To me, less than 2 million users does not seem that great a response.

There is one essential flaw with these features, they are unique applications, the user has to specifically go out of their way to use them, they are not integrated into the dashboard, nor can you use them in game. I would be interested in learning what the long term uptake will be, ie will the members go back and re-use on a regular basis?

I asked for comment from the source of the press release, on how they felt about the uptake. This was what they had to say:-

“As the new features have only been available for a week, we’re pleased with the uptake thus far.”

Iplayer on Xbox

One of the things that I did not understand with the latest dashboard update, was the fact Iplayer from the BBC was missing. I am a huge fan of Iplayer, for someone, like myself, who finds themself rarely watching tv, the iplayer is a chance to catch up on programmes you never get to see. To me it is logical that Iplayer should appear on xbox. There is a clear strategy with Microsoft to move xbox from being solely a gaming system, and instead make it the media and entertainment hub in the home. So why is this feature missing – it seems the perfect example of crossover. Its all the more annoying, when you know it is possible to have on consoles, as both the PS3 and Wii have got it up and running. It would appear I am not alone in thinking this, the Daily Telegraph ran a story on this very subject. Read it here

According to sources who’ve spoken to the Telegraph, a deal between the BBC and Microsoft has been unable to be reached due to Microsoft’s strategy of charging for content on Live, which the BBC feel they cannot charge for as access to the iPlayer as it is already included in the licence fee.

“Microsoft only wants to offer its users access to platforms it can charge for as this is the model it is pursuing. It wants to ensure that only those paying for Xbox Live Gold accounts can access its additional content services and even then there is usually a charge on top to get access to those. For example, to access the Sky Player on Xbox, you have to pay for a Gold subscription as well as a Sky subscription,” explained one source close to the BBC.

“It is really frustrating for those involved on the BBC side who want to make sure iPlayer is rolled out on as many popular entertainment platforms as possible,” they added.

A BBC spokesman said: “BBC iPlayer has been extremely successful on PS3 and we recently re-launched on Nintendo Wii, from which the public response has been fantastic. People clearly want the BBC iPlayer on their gaming consoles, and we don’t think Xbox users are any different.”

I contacted Xbox’s PR company in the UK for comment and received the following:-

‘Microsoft does not comment on rumours and speculation’

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