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Online Console Gaming Growth Estimates

The most recent research from Point Topic shows that online console gaming is gaining ground on the traditional masters of the virtual universe, the PC-based Massively Multi-player Online Role-playing Games (MMPORGs).

Online console numbers are still fairly small when you compare to the installed bases of the big players, like World of Warcraft (WoW) and the Lineage family but they are closing the gap. Current estimates show around 6 million WoW subscribers against 750,000 Xbox360 Live subscribers.

The latest figures show that almost 50 percent of those who have purchased an Xbox360 have Xbox Live subscriptions, compared to under 10 percent of original Xbox customers, and those subscribers play online 4 or 5 times more often per week than on the first generation machines.

If the Xbox 360 meets its sales targets then we estimate that Xbox Live could add more than 2 million subscribers by the end of the second quarter of 2006. With next generation consoles coming from Sony and Nintendo, and Sony�s existing PSP pushing the WiFi and online angle hard, it looks like 2006 could see some pretty rapid growth in this segment.

The next challenge is for the manufacturers to integrate the console more closely into people�s homes. These boxes have broadband modems and significant computing power, and they could be used to run applications other than gaming.

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