The next step in the evolution of broadband is maximizing all those fast connections, and broadband, multiplayer console gaming is giving a certain jump-start to that next stage.
Microsoft Corp. provided further proof of that this week by announcing some early returns on its recently launched broadband-only Xbox Live online gaming service. Since the introduction of Xbox Live less than 60 days ago, Microsoft said it has sold more than 250,000 Xbox Live Starter Kits-more than double the company's original sales expectations.
Gamers on the Xbox platform who also have a broadband connection can start gaming online by purchasing one of the starter kits at retail, and then piping a cable modem or DSL connection into the Xbox console.
The data from NPD Group Inc. also showed that the Xbox platform was outperforming a similar product from competitor Sony Corp. According to NPD, in the first month of availability, Xbox Live Starter Kits outsold by 86 percent the number of Sony PlayStation2 Network Adapters sold in its first month.
The early success of the North American launch of the Xbox Live service means Microsoft will leverage that success into launches of the service into other markets around the globe this year. Europe is scheduled to get the service March 14, with Japan slated to get it later this month.