Pretty much an instant hit among video gamers when it first hit store shelves in 2001, Microsoft’s Xbox has become the centerpiece of the Redmond, Washington software giant’s efforts to be a force in streaming digital entertainment. One million Xbox LIVE Gold members have downloaded and activated its pioneering Xbox LIVE application from Netflix, a milestone reached in less than three months, Microsoft announced today. The million Netflix subscribers watched over 1.5 billion minutes of streaming video via the Xbox console. Xbox LIVE Video Marketplace downloads have grown 174 percent on annualized basis from December 2008 to January 2009, according to Microsoft.
Netflix and Microsoft formed their alliance last November, one in which Netflix supplies instant, on-demand access to a growing library of films and TV programs that now numbers more than 12,000 to paying Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers that have Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system. Xbox LIVE Gold members who are also Netflix unlimited members get to watch movies and TV episodes on Xbox LIVE for no additional charge. “Adding Netflix to our ever-growing library of 30,000 movies and TV shows makes Xbox 360 the best value in home entertainment,” John Schappert, corporate vice president of interactive entertainment, LIVE, software and services business at Microsoft, stated in a media release.
These are decent numbers for both Netflix and Microsoft. They surely add momentum to the idea of game consoles becoming digital media and entertainment gateways for the home, and the Xbox in particular, acting as an IPTV set top box.