28 million Xbox 360s sold, 17 million on Xbox Live

Microsoft announces another sales milestone for cheapest current-generation console and its online service; XBLM revenue hits $1 billion.

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Last October, Microsoft reported that its Xbox 360 console sold 2.2 million units during the July-September quarter, an increase of 20 percent. In November, NPD reported that the console sold more than 800,000 units, thanks in part to the hard-drive-less Arcade 360 becoming the cheapest console at $199.

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Though it is still withholding December sales numbers--US figures from NPD are expected next Thursday--Microsoft revealed today its worldwide, life-to-date numbers for the 360. From the time it launched in November 2005 to December 31, 2008, the console has sold more than 28 million units internationally, which is 4 million more than the original Xbox did in its five-year life cycle.

As Microsoft pointed out repeatedly in its announcement, the 28 million figure puts the 360 ahead of the PlayStation 3, which the company estimates has sold 20 million units life-to-date. Microsoft did not provide a source for the 20 million figure, and it didn't mention that the PS3 launched a full year after the 360 in November 2006. That month also saw the launch of the Nintendo Wii, which overtook the 360 last year with nearly 35 million units sold as of the end of October--and sold more than 2 million units in November in the US.

One of the 360's most universally praised features is its Xbox Live service, which now boasts 17 million active members. Since the console's launch, those members have spent more than $1 billion on products on Xbox Live Marketplace, according to Microsoft. Spending on the service increased 84 percent in 2008, a trend that the company said accelerated after the New Xbox Experience dashboard reboot launched in November. From Christmas to New Year's Day, 1.5 million "concurrent members" logged on to XBL.

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