By Reuters SAN FRANCISCO -- Microsoft Corp sold 28 million units worldwide of its Xbox 360 video game console through the end of 2008, expanding the Xbox's lead over rival Sony Corp's PlayStation 3 console in worldwide unit sales, the company said on Monday. Xbox 360 product management director Aaron Greenberg said 2008 "was our biggest year ever in Xbox history" despite a sluggish global economy that's battered US retailers this past holiday season. Rising unemployment and tighter credit have dented US consumers' purchasing power and most retailers have posted dismal sales results in recent months. Despite problems by some publishers, the video game industry overall has bucked the trend as market researcher NPD said video games sales rose 10 percent and totaled $2.91 billion in November, proving consumers were still spending on video games at the beginning of the holiday season despite the sour economy. Microsoft said global unit sales of the Xbox 360, which was launched about a year before the PS3, outpaced its rival by over 8 million units at the close of 2008. Online consumer spending on Microsoft's Xbox Live online service increased 84 percent year-over-year and members of the Xbox Live community rose to over 17 million members at the end of 2008, the company said. Consumers have spent over $1 billion on Microsoft's Xbox Live online service since its launch for the 360 in 2005, according the Microsoft. Greenberg noted "the $199 price point (of the Xbox 360) was really critical to our success this holiday." Microsoft cut the US price of its entry-level console in September to $199, or $50 below Nintendo Co Ltd's Wii console.
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By Alexander Villafania INQUIRER.net MANILA, Philippies -- Two members of the Filipino gaming console forum PinoyXbox were named the Philippines’ Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVP). The husband-and-wife moderators of PinoyXbox, Philip and Joanne Ortiz, will join the ranks of 20 other Filipino MVPs, a recognition given to the best Microsoft professionals and advocates. In a letter to the PinoyXbox forum, Microsoft Philippines Technology Specialist Jojo Ayson said the Ortizes were recognized under the Xbox MVP category, which gives recognition to people who made significant contributions in the promotion of the Xbox gaming platform. There are now a total of three gamers from the Philippines who have been awarded with MVP titles, Ayson said. Overall, there are only 42 Xbox MVPs worldwide, excluding the Ortizes, and 16 awardees for the category of “Games for Windows MVPs.” Ayson said MVPs are given certain privileges, including exclusive access to special websites that feature early releases of Microsoft products, and subscription to software support. "In the case of Philip and Joanne, it could be game titles or some products related to the Xbox 360," Ayson said, citing the experience of Rodriguez who gets new Microsoft PC games. The MVP title is refreshed every year, which means all MVPs will have to continuously update their blogs and forum presence. "Remember that this award comes after the fact that the awardees have been advocates of Microsoft products. They have to continue promoting their passion for these products," Ayson said. Philip Ortiz told hackenslash that their MVP status is a rare opportunity that recognizes their efforts in promoting gaming in the country. He added that it could be a step towards the country bring recognized as a potential market for Xbox games. "Perhaps Microsoft would finally bring the Xbox as a product in the Philippines. It may not start with the Xbox 360 but perhaps when the next Xbox comes," Ortiz said. Incidentally, a PC gamer, Adrian Rodirguez (Deadaimgames.spaces.live.com), was awarded as MVP for his PC gaming advocacy.
By Agence France-Presse SAN FRANCISCO--Microsoft said Sunday it is cutting the price of its 20-gigabyte Xbox 360 video game consoles and rolling out a model with three times the memory space to take its place. The US technology giant's announcement comes two days before the official start of a major Electronic Entertainment Expo at which video game console makers will be striving to portray their hardware as superior. Microsoft said it will trim $50 from Xbox 360 models with 20 gigabytes in the United States or Canada, cutting prices to $299. An upgraded Xbox 360 Pro model with 60 gigabytes of memory will hit markets in those same two countries in August with $349 price tags, according to the Redmond, Washington-based firm. The reasoning for the boost in memory capacity is people's interest in storing digital photos, video, music and other data on gaming consoles, which are essentially entertainment computers connected to television sets. "We know consumers need more and more space to store the amazing digital content Xbox 360 offers, and we're giving it to them at no extra charge," said Albert Penello, Xbox director of product management. Sony maintains it has no intention of cutting prices on PlayStation 3 models, which sell in the United States for $400 or $500 depending on memory capacity. Nintendo will be defending Wii's crown as the world's most popular video game console, which is priced at $250 and is snatched from shelves as soon as it arrives in stores. The big three console makers along with video game software makers large and small will be showing off their newest creations at the Expo in Los Angeles during the coming week.