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Microsoft Corp. said that from a typical game console, the Xbox has grown to a powerful entertainment service. As a result, as sales of Xbox 360 hit 53 million units and Sony PlayStation 3 closes in, the world's largest software developer believes that the brand should be used more broadly.

"We have sold more than 53 million Xbox 360 consoles, and Xbox has been the top-selling console in the last year. There are more than 30 million Xbox Live members. More than 10 million Kinects have sold to date," said Frank X. Shaw, corporate vice president of corporate communications at Microsoft.

Back in March Sony Computer Entertainment said that it had sold-in 50 million of PlayStation 3 game consoles, which means that the software giant no longer has a huge lead in terms of installed base over its main rival. On the other hand, as Kinect catalyzes development of new games, the Xbox 360 will become more popular among casual gamers and more consoles will be bought.

But Microsoft now claims that Xbox 360 is not just games, as 40% of all Xbox activity now is non-game and Microsoft sees an average of 30 hours of video consumption per month per Xbox, a number that is growing fast.

"Put simply, Xbox = entertainment and is core to our entertainment strategy. Around the world, the Xbox connects more people to online content and communities through the largest screen in the house than any other device. As the console has evolved, it’s stayed true to its core while adding more and more experiences. Today, there is no better gaming experience in the world. [...] The vision for Xbox is straightforward: All of the entertainment you want. With the people you care about. Made easy. That is why you’ve seen us invest in partnerships with ESPN, Netflix and Hulu. That is why we’ve baked social directly into the experience with Xbox Live – connecting gamers, friends and families across the globe," explained Mr. Shaw.

Without elaborating, Microsoft indicated that Xbox will be "marketed more as an entertainment brand this year" than a gaming brand. Potentially, this means that Microsoft may attempt to enable certain Xbox Live services on personal computers in addition to Windows Phone 7 platforms.

Tags: Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox Live, Windows, Windows Phone

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