68% of European Xbox Live subscriptions sold at retail

Microsoft stresses importance of retail partners in the success and growth of the Xbox 360's online gaming service.

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Microsoft has set up Xbox Live so users can sign up and renew it from the comfort of their living rooms, but more than two-thirds of European customers still choose to go through retailers instead of signing up online.

Xbox Live Gold cards have been golden for retailers.
Xbox Live Gold cards have been golden for retailers.

Speaking with MCV, Xbox Live European marketing manager Robin Burrowes said "68 percent of Europe's Xbox Live subscription acquisitions come from retail." The factoid was dropped in a conversation about how Microsoft is trying to keep retailers involved in its digital businesses.

Not all console makers are taking the same approach to retail partners; Sony plans to launch the PlayStation Vita in Europe and North America next year, and it has already said that all retail games for the system will also be available digitally from day one. Burrowes told the trade site that Microsoft has no plans to use that approach with its own system, specifically out of consideration for retailers.

"We are very respectful of the retail environment, in that we have a window between the release of a retail game and the digital one," Burrowes said. "There are no immediate plans to change that."

Just prior to this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo, Microsoft revealed that it has 35 million "active users" of Xbox Live worldwide. However, the Xbox 360 maker did not specify how many of them were users of the free Xbox Live Silver service and how many paid for Xbox Live Gold subscriptions.

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