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Xbox Live downloads 'ahead of expectation' in the UK

Neil Thompson happy with performance of content mix on Xbox 360

Microsoft's senior regional director for the Entertainment and Devices division, Neil Thompson, has declared himself happy with the performance of the Xbox Live download service, noting that the "phenomenal" past year for the Xbox 360 has put the company ahead of its own curve predictions.

"What I can say is that we have 17 million Xbox Live subscribers worldwide that are very active, and all of our download content - especially in the UK - is above where our expectations put us," Thompson told GamesIndustry.biz at the launch of the Microsoft/NBC Universal partnership last week.

"So we're very confident that these sorts of services that we've announced are proving very popular, and will be very successful. Our consumers are telling us."

And although he declined to reveal the specific numbers for downloads in the UK, or split them out into proportions of game add-ons versus other content such as film and TV downloads, he does feel that Microsoft is getting the right blend overall.

"The way I encourage people to think about this is that we're trying to make the Xbox 360 platform as completely compelling as a whole platform" he said. "What we feel you have to do is have a variety of different entertainment experiences that people will want to consume at different times, for different reasons. And different types of people will want to consume them.

"So we tend not to look at individual pieces and ask if it's doing well as a piece. What we do is look at whether or not the range of what we're offering more compelling than anybody else can offer. If the answer is yes, and when we look at new content we can offer, does it enhance what the range of that offering looks like - and that answer is yes - that's how we think about it and how we focus on it.

"In today's world consumers are incredibly demanding about what they get out of consumer technology, and technology services. Quite often it's just about having the choice, irrespective of what within the choice they use, they still want to see the choice. That's how I think about it - so therefore, what an individual piece does to the whole is quite difficult to judge specifically.

"As a proposition as a whole, if you look at Xbox 360 in the past 12, 18 or 24 months - especially in the UK - it's been pretty phenomenal. We think we're getting it right with these sorts of content plays."

The full interview with Neil Thompson is available now.

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Phil Elliott