Microsoft Responds To March NPD Sales, Seems Pleased

While both Nintendo and Sony saw hardware sales slide for the month compared to March 2008, Microsoft's sales were up, bucking the trend. Which has the company feeling, well, pleased.

360 sales were up 25% over the same time last year, with 330,000 sold in the US, while Microsoft were also beating their chests over strong software sales, claiming four of the top ten-sellers for March being 360 games (Resident Evil 5, Halo Wars, MLB 2K09 and GH: Metallica (though, uh, we don't see GH: Metallica in the top ten)

But wait! The boasting doesn't stop there! Microsoft also claim that, thanks to the release of GTAIV expansion Lost & Damned and the Dark Knight on the Xbox Video Marketplace, "the number of unique users buying content on Xbox LIVE more than doubled", while also pointing out a "220 percent growth in the number of users purchasing Game Add-ons over the same period last year".

Sadly, Microsoft's press release did not contain a quote from Aaron Greenberg.

March NPD results are in and Xbox 360 highlights include:

* Xbox 360 system sales hit 330,000 units, up 25 percent from a year earlier, making it the only console experiencing growth in March
* Xbox 360 claimed four of the top 10 video game titles in March
* Purchasers of Game Add-ons on Xbox LIVE surged 128 percent in March over the same period last year

Xbox 360 was the only game console to show year-over-year growth in the U.S. as the $199 starting price continued to resonate with consumers looking to get more entertainment value for their money. Retail sales of Xbox 360 systems hit 330,000 units in March, climbing 25 percent from a year earlier, in contrast to double-digit declines posted by Wii and PlayStation 3. March was the sixth month in a row that Xbox 360 has seen year-over-year sales growth.

Games on Xbox 360

Xbox 360 claimed four of the top 10 console games in March, including "Resident Evil 5," "Halo Wars," "MLB 2K09," and "Guitar Hero: Metallica" (March NPD data). The titles covered action, strategy, sports and music genres, highlighting the breadth of gaming experiences available on Xbox 360. Sales of third-party games on Xbox 360, a key measure of platform health, hit $185 million in March, more than any other system (March NPD data). Xbox 360 is also home to the most top-rated games of any current-generation console, with 139 titles earning a score of 80 or above on Metacritic, while no other console has even 100 such titles (Metacritic data).

Number of users buying content on Xbox LIVE more than doubles

Xbox LIVE extends the range of home entertainment experiences with more than 30,000 pieces of entertainment content. This includes more than 18,000 movies, TV shows and music videos via the LIVE Video Marketplace and more than 12,000 videos streamed through an exclusive partnership with Netflix. The number of unique users buying content on Xbox LIVE more than doubled, soaring 128 percent in March over a year earlier, driven by Game Add-ons like "Fallout 3: The Pitt," and blockbuster movies like "The Dark Knight" (Microsoft internal data).

Consumers get more entertainment on Xbox LIVE

2009 marks the year that we've take online console gaming and entertainment to new heights through downloadable games and Game Add-ons. Game Add-ons give Xbox 360 owners the ability to extend the life of their favorite games, whether it's new song tracks for music games, "The Pitt" expansion for "Fallout 3" or the "Halo 3 Mythic Map Pack," which launched April 9.

* In the first three months of 2009, we've seen 220 percent growth in the number of users purchasing Game Add-ons over the same period last year (Microsoft internal data)

· 63 games released 516 Game Add-ons on Xbox LIVE Marketplace in the first three months of 2009 – a 62 percent increase over the same period last year (Microsoft internal data)

· Exclusive Game Add-ons to Xbox 360 include "Grand Theft Auto 4: The Lost and Damned," "Fallout 3: Operation Anchorage," "Fallout 3: The Pitt," "Gears of War 2 Snowblind Map Pack," and "Scene It? Box Office Smash!."