Xbox Live beats $1 billion in fiscal 2010, about 50% pay for Gold

Wednesday, 7th July 2010 10:29 GMT By Patrick Garratt


Looks as though Microsoft’s broken into dream-like territory with Live cash, pointing to a ten-figure count in the just-ended FY.

An email from Dennis Durkin, Xbox’s chief operating officer, has claimed that about half Live’s 25 million users had Gold subs in the year ended June 30, making for revenue of about $600 million.

Sales of products like movie and TV show downloads topped subscription revenue for the first time, the exec has confirmed.

That could mean Microsoft saw around $1.2 billion in Live revenue in FY 2010.

“The old playbook of ‘launch and leave’ is a relic of the past,” Durkin said, as reported by Bloomberg.

“Today with Xbox Live, it’s now about ‘launch, sustain, retain’ by continually adding new content that enhances the original experience.”

Microsoft is apparently in an increasingly comfortable position with its Xbox business. Operating income of $1.04 billion for the Entertainment and Devices Division in the last financial year – more than six times income in fiscal 2009.

The company is due to report 2010 results July 22.

Competition incoming

Microsoft may be about to face stiffer competition in the premium console service “space,” however, as Sony has just launched its own take on the revenue stream with PlayStation Plus.

Plus offers early beta access, full game trials, “free” PSN games and more for a yearly sub.

PS3 online play will remain a free service, though. Xbox Live online play is only available to Gold subscribers.

In addition to straight opposition for gamer dollars, Microsoft may also be about to face a push-back from publishers. Bobby Kotick, Activision’s omnipresent frontman, told the FT this week that he wants more of a financial incentive to put games like Modern Warfare 2 onto Live, and claimed that up to 60 percent of Gold subs pay exclusively for the purpose of playing the I-Ward shooter on 360.

Kotick said he wants a choice of more platforms in this area, and plans to “aggressively support” incentives to hook PCs up to TVs in order to cut out cash-swallowing middle-men between Acti Blizz and the online gamer.



  1. Blerk

    Blimey. No wonder Sony and Activision want a bit of that pie.

    #1 5 years ago
  2. Patrick Garratt

    Added some more to that.

    #2 5 years ago
  3. Blerk

    I wouldn’t call PlayStation Plus ‘competition’, tbh. The services are quite different, I can’t imagine anyone ditching Live and deciding to buy PS+ instead.

    Sony’s free-to-play online stuff is probably more of a competitor – the fact that Microsoft can convince nearly half of its users to pay a yearly subscription for something that Sony provide for free must surely have been the deciding factor in Sony deciding to create the subs service.

    #3 5 years ago
  4. cookiejar

    Well that should cover the KIN disaster. Nice one, Microsoft :D

    #4 5 years ago
  5. Blerk

    I dread to think how much money they lost on that! I hope we find out one day! :-D

    #5 5 years ago
  6. James Mac

    I just don’t see Kotic being that big a threat to Live.

    Even if he does create a means of harvesting an online revenue stream for online play… Acti have to create the back end of all the systems, and if they lose the xbox market, there’s a small metric fucktonne of software sales they’ll miss out on.

    #6 5 years ago
  7. endgame

    well I always though Live users were Microsoft’s bitches but I never had any proof. now I do. :DDD

    #7 5 years ago
  8. ExclusivesMostly

    PS+ offers tremendous value. Better than Live IMO. I already got more than $49.99 worth of free stuff (games, etc) and this is only the second week since I had PS+. Plus I got three free bonus months which means I’ll be getting free stuff (and great discounts on PSN) until September 2011. Awesome!

    #8 5 years ago
  9. NGCes26294BIV


    Nice plant.

    #9 5 years ago
  10. DrDamn

    To some PSN+ is good value, but as Blerk pointed out it’s a completely different thing to a Live Gold sub.

    I think PSN+ will go through a good/crap/crap cycle. First two months are decent – though some repetition of stuff a lot will own. Month 3 I expect to be very poor. Month 4 is when people who paid a 3 month sub will be considering a re-sub – so I expect a good month. A 3 month good/shite/shite cycle will then follow until the end of the year when the last month will be great. :)

    Looking at my friends list quite a lot of my more active friends have paid for PSN+ – more than I expected anyway.

    #10 5 years ago
  11. cookiejar

    @10, Same actually. Must be just over half of my friends list now have paid up.

    For me, its better value that Xbox Live as I’m not that much of a multiplayer gamer, I only maybe play a MP game once or twice a week. Even thinking about not renewing the Gold sub next month when it runs out.

    So getting the content + the free online MP on PSN, suits me better.

    #11 5 years ago
  12. Petulant Radish

    Nothing is free when you pay for it.

    #12 5 years ago
  13. reask

    I have to say having spent the last couple of months mostly on PSN it just doesn’t cut the sauce for me.
    Its a free service because it just doesn’t compare to live imo.

    One thing I have noticed is when you go to players met there is no option to join there session if there is room in the lobby.
    Now maybe you can and I am just unaware of it but on live you get a little icon beside the player telling you that there is room in the lobby and you just click on join session and you’re in.

    I have spent ages on several occasions in the uc 2 lobby and eventually got bored waiting and went back to sp.

    Also the chat thing would have been implemented at this stage you would imagine.
    Overall I just find live a much better experience and have no problem paying for what is essentially a much superior service imo.

    I subscribed for 3 months plus and played wipe out for about 10 minutes before been totally bored with it.
    The mini zombie game was OK but just OK.
    I doubt very much I will bother with the service after my 3 months unless they use the revenue to make much needed basic improvements.

    #13 5 years ago
  14. DrDamn

    If you want any sort of integrated online playing service Live is streets ahead. If you just play online for the human opponent perspective and don’t care so much about who you play against PSN is fine. If you have regular friends or like to make and keep friends from online games then Live is really the only choice.

    It’s not something which is so obvious looking at Live from a PSN only experience. Looking at PSN from a Live experience you really notice the absence of all those clever touches (aside from the big features) which make Live so good.

    #14 5 years ago
  15. theevilaires

    Meh who cares. I would never buy stuff off XBOX Strive!

    #15 5 years ago
  16. OlderGamer


    That is right along my opinion of PSN as well.

    Servicable, but not in the same league as LIVE.

    For someone that doesn’t value MP, PSN makes a great choice.

    PSN+ just seems silly. But to some I guess … they like it.

    I have always thought that most folks that claim not to like LIVE are either core sony/nintendo fansboys, or they haven’t honestly spent much time on it.

    When looking at it objectivly, LIVE is simply a better service.

    #16 5 years ago
  17. theevilaires

    Guys that’s because SONY is ran by dumb ass Japs who are fucking conservative. LIVE is run by open minded money hungry capitalist who knows hey give them what they want and make them pay for it to shut them up.

    Is that approach wrong?….no it works for 50% of XBOX users I guess but SONY is behind true. Thankfully there
    s something SONY has put out to try and combat their issues with PSN over LIVE. Its this….

    maybe they’re really gonna start listening to the consumer now. The real people that matter, not those jackasses in QandA. This could be a start and remember Reask M$ has a lot of shit patent man. They know exactly what they are doing.

    #17 5 years ago
  18. itwa5medicks

    maybe thats why sony only has to sell 10 million more systems to beat them out, because people get fed up with xbox.

    #18 5 years ago
  19. itwa5medicks

    @17 Wait till ps3 starts getting MMOs, xbox can’t.

    #19 5 years ago
  20. MushroomStamp

    I agree with most of the posters here. Live is simply better and I don’t mind paying a measly $50 for a far better multiplayer experience. I have no interest in PSN+ and their irrelevant freebies. Love my PS3, just not the online.

    #20 5 years ago
  21. cookiejar

    If I was totally into online gaming, then no contest. Xbox Live is currently the superior service, although that can change.

    But as I’m not, PS+ grabs me much more because of the content. That’s how I see it, anyway.

    #21 5 years ago
  22. Joe_Gamer

    I’ll probably never understand why some people are willing to pay for multi-player.

    edit:god damn punctuation!

    #22 5 years ago
  23. Joe_Gamer

    “because SONY is ran by dumb ass Japs”

    Sooooo racism is cool now?

    #23 5 years ago
  24. theevilaires

    ok let me spell the whole word out then….

    cause SONY is ran by dumb ass Japanese people

    how is that racism. They are a stupid group of prideful idiots who will be destroyed by the west even in video games because they’re too goddamn pig headed to give the Americans what they want.

    #24 5 years ago
  25. Crysis

    so you have never heard of SCEA or SCEE? Sony is worldwide, just because it’s HQ is in Japan, does not mean that it’s completely relevant to add their race into it, & if they were as dumb as you state, they wouldn’t be one of the largest companies in the world, they have always known how to make good hardware affordable but haven’t quite been @ Microsoft’s level when it comes to software simply becuase that’s M$’s territory, not theirs’, but in the mean time they’ve made an excellent network free of charge to millions of their loyal customers

    #25 5 years ago

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