Live performance

Tuesday 28 March 2006
Xbox Live, Microsoft's online service for its consoles, has logged over 1.5 billion hours of use since its 2002 launch. Most interesting among the stats released, however, is that Halo 2 accounts for roughly a third of that time, with Xbox and Xbox 360 owners putting in some 500 million hours of online play.

So, what's everyone else playing? On Xbox 360, launch title Call of Duty 2 remains the most popular, followed by Perfect Dark Zero and Project Gotham Racing 3. Although, it's only a matter of time before Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter crashes that particular party.

The most popular choice on Xbox Live Arcade is twin-stick shooter Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved, followed by 3D puzzler Marble Blast Ultra. And we don't see that changing much until Capcom gets around to releasing Street Fighter II for XLA.

With Live being integrated so heavily into Xbox 360 - and with the free Silver membership offered to every owner - it's no surprise to see that half of those with a 360 are connected to Live, compared to just one in 10 Xbox gamers. Xbox 360 players are also taking part in an average of 25 online games per week, compared to just six on Xbox.

600,000 text messages are sent through the service every day, while the total number of downloads hosted by Live recently reached the 10 million mark.

Xbox Live didn't feel like a revolution when it first appeared, but it's managed to gather some considerable pace over the past four years. Which makes us all the more intrigued by PS3's online service, and how it'll aim to compete - Sony, it's over to you.