While rumors of the next Xbox are beginning to swirl, the overall Xbox ecosystem (the 360 and LIVE) is performing surprisingly well given how long its current hardware has been in the market.
According to Robin Burrowes, Head of Product Marketing for the Xbox in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, things are not only as good as they have ever been for LIVE, but they continue to get better:
“The last twelve months has been our biggest in terms of acquisition [of new LIVE members] – in the EMEA region and globally… And we’re actually forecasting the next 12 months to be even bigger.”
For a console on the market since 2005, that is almost too good to be true.
What is causing such rapid, and late-stage growth for LIVE? The Kinect. Burrowes pointed out that subscriber growth turned around when the Kinect was released. This could be due to consumers picking up their first Xbox to use the Kinect, or the Kinect bringing current 360 owners deeper in the Xbox fold, and thus ending with them creating LIVE accounts.
There is more on the horizon, however, than just games. Microsoft continues to work on its content strategy for the living room, which has the Xbox at its center. In ComputerAndVideoGames, the source for this article, it was noted that Burrowes said that the company will announce a “whole bunch” of new content partners come the fall.
While the Kinect granted new life to the aging Xbox 360, if Microsoft can capitalize on the momentum is the next question. Perhaps this holiday season with the new partners, and the potential for a blockbuster sales cycle will set the stage for whatever hardware that will come next under the Xbox aegis.