The announcement of Sony’s next-generation PlayStation 4 console is less than two weeks away. Though the announcement of Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox isn’t expected until the E3 conference in June, the company this week released some numbers that show just where the company stands as the industry prepares for the next generation of consoles.
Microsoft also released information and statements that make it clear the company is eyeing more than just video games. Expect the next Microsoft console to be a complete home multimedia device, with connectivity to multiple services and devices.
“Yes, we started with video games, but we have been on a journey to make Xbox the center of every household’s entertainment,” said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of Microsoft Interactive Entertainment.
According to Microsoft, Xbox users watched and played 18 billion hours of entertainment last year. Usage of apps on the Xbox also grew 57%, which isn’t surprising considering the number of apps that were added in 2012.
The catch is that using these services isn’t free on an Xbox – an Xbox LIVE Gold subscription is required to access multiplayer gaming, Netflix Watch Instantly, Amazon Instant Video, and more. Subscriptions to Xbox LIVE now stand at 46 million. Considering that subscriptions start at $5 per month, Microsoft is taking in over $230 million per month for things that Sony’s PlayStation 3 provides consumers with for free.
“We believe that Xbox is being used by more people in the household, during more hours in the day and for more forms of entertainment,” said Mehdi. “People are using Xbox in the morning to work out with the Kinect Nike+ Fitness program, kids are watching cartoons, families are enjoying movies, and of course people are playing blockbuster games like Halo 4.”