As promised earlier in the month, Microsoft yesterday commemorated the 1 year anniversary of the launch of the Xbox 360 by unveiling the first wave of movie and TV show downloads on Xbox Live. One initial review said that the downloads were incredibly slow, but there could be a variety of transitory reasons for that. Speed problems aside, the prices seem reasonable although selection is limited:
High-def TV shows are 240 points ($3) and regular def shows are 160 points ($2). High-def movies are 480 points ($6) and regular movies are 320 points ($4). While classic movies (as in old ones) are 360 points ($4.50) in high-def and regular will be 240 points ($3).
When I checked a few minutes ago there were 48 movies available, including Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams. Fancy.
Speaking of the Xbox 360, Microsoft announced that the newly released Gears of War game is setting sales records:
As “Gears of War” continues to emerge throughout the world ahead of the holiday sales rush, the Xbox 360 juggernaut has sold an impressive 1 million copies world-wide in just its first two weeks of release—elevating the game to the fastest-selling title of 2006 and fastest-selling original Xbox game of all time.
The battle continues to rage on Xbox Live as well, as more than 850,000 unique gamers have engaged in 10 million gameplay sessions while unlocking an impressive 7 million Achievements. On top of being the #1 title on Xbox Live, “Gears of War” has also driven new members to the network, as paid registrations per day have skyrocketed more than 50 percent since the game’s launch.
Maybe even better news is that Gears of War has apparently gotten some fence sitters to buy Xbox 360 consoles:
But even more importantly, leading video-game retailer GameStop … commented on its third-quarter conference call that the release of “Gears of War” has resulted in a significant increase in Xbox 360 sales. This is a very important data point, as it indicates that gamers have been looking for a reason to buy the Xbox 360, and now they have one.
To be fair, GameStop reported that sales of a number of game platforms were strong including the Nintendo DS and Sony’s PS2 and PSP. GameStop is also expected to profit this quarter from PS3 and Nintendo Wii sales.