Microsoft Responds To February NPD Sales, Seems Pleased

Microsoft had a good February. It was the Xbox 360 maker's "best non-holiday month" with the exception of the release of Halo 3, not to put too fine of a point on it.

That's according to NPD analyst Anita Frazier, but the rest of the best is from Microsoft PR. Yes, the company is justifiably pleased with its performance in the U.S. of A. last month, a month in which it moved 391,000 Xbox 360s. Microsoft says that's up 53 percent from last year's February, thanks in part to the console being the "best value in the industry" in its own recently released words.

It also implies that it's home to the best software, gloating that "Xbox 360 is home to the most top-rated games of any current-generation console, with 135 titles earning a score of 80 or above on Metacritic, versus 94 for PlayStation 3 and 43 for Wii." Yep, right in the face.

While Microsoft touts 1 million copies of Halo Wars sold, it still won't go on record with quantitative sales of Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned. Believe me, we looked. Hard.

February NPD results are in and Xbox 360 highlights include:

· Xbox 360 system sales hit 391,000, up 53 percent from a year earlier, as the best value in the industry continues to win over consumers
· Xbox 360 claimed four of the top 10 video game titles in February
· "Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned" set a sales record for Xbox LIVE

Xbox 360 sustained its record-setting pace this year as U.S. retail sales jumped 53 percent in February from a year earlier to hit 391,000 units. With Xbox 360 starting at just $199, the system offers a compelling buy for consumers looking to make their entertainment dollars go further. Xbox 360 is home to the most top-rated games of any current-generation console, with 135 titles earning a score of 80 or above on Metacritic, versus 94 for PlayStation 3 and 43 for Wii (Metacritic data). Xbox 360 also features a vibrant online community with Xbox LIVE and takes entertainment beyond games with more than 30,000 pieces of content available for download, including more than 12,000 movies and TV shows for instant watch through a partnership with Netflix.

Games on Xbox 360
Xbox 360 claimed four of February's top 10 console games, including "Street Fighter IV," "Call of Duty: World at War," "FEAR 2," "Skate 2." (February NPD data). Each game was from a different publisher, underscoring Xbox 360's role as a driver of the entire industry. Sales of third-party games on Xbox 360 hit $162 million in February, more than either competitor (February NPD data). Xbox 360 owners continue to buy more games than owners of other systems, having bought an average of 8.2 titles each.

"The Lost and Damned" Sets Xbox LIVE Sales Record
On February 17, "The Lost and Damned," the first highly anticipated Game Add-on for "Grand Theft Auto IV," was released exclusively on Xbox LIVE. This all-new chapter in the "GTA IV" world set a record for first-day sales on Xbox LIVE and highlighted Xbox 360 as the only console where you can play additional episodes of the game.

Setting the Stage for Sustained Growth
Xbox 360 rolled out more hits in March with the release of "Halo Wars," which put a strategic twist on one of the best-selling franchises of all time. As announced earlier today, sales of "Halo Wars" have already hit 1 million copies worldwide. Also, Capcom's globally popular "Resident Evil" franchise came to Xbox 360 for the first time with the release of "Resident Evil 5" on March 13. Xbox and Capcom further stoked fan enthusiasm by releasing a red "RE5" limited edition Xbox 360 console.

Consumers Get More Entertainment on Xbox LIVE
· Xbox 360 is the leading console for online play and is used by fully half of people who play console games online(NPD Online Gaming 2009)
· Xbox 360 owners spend an average of 8 hours per week playing games online, more than any other platform, including the PC (NPD Online Gaming 2009)
· The top five movie downloads on Xbox LIVE in February included "Body of Lies," "College," "Eagle Eye," "My Best Friend's Girl," and "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor" (Microsoft internal data)
· Game Add-ons give Xbox 360 owners the ability to extend the life of their favorite games, with examples ranging from the wildly successful "The Lost and Damned" for "Grand Theft Auto IV," to extra tracks for music games.