Merry 'X'mas; As In 'X'box!

Late Thursday night, Microsoft was touting the company's apparently monumental success with Xbox sales this holiday shopping season, even though the industry's gold standard of market research, the NPD numbers for December, are still weeks away.

But that isn't stopping Microsoft from calling itself the "hands down" industry leader for game console, and gaming experience sales, no matter what Nintendo might have to say about it.

Microsoft now says it has sold a total of 17.7 million Xbox 360 consoles globally; the company also, for the first time, says "Halo 3" sales surpassed 8 million units since its September 25, 2007 launch--8.1 million to be exact. Wasn't it just last month that Microsoft corporate VP Jeff Bell touted "Halo 3" surpassing 5 million units? That's a big, 3 million units more in just four weeks.

Bioware's "Mass Effect" topped 1.6 million units sold in just the six weeks it's been on sale.

Microsoft also says consumers spend more on Xbox software and accessories than Nintendo's Wii and Sony's Playstation . The company reports an "attach rate" of 6.9 according to data collected from NPD. Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices division president Robbie Bach tells me is the single best metric in the industry to determine success and longevity of a game console platform.

I'll be sitting down with Bach for a live interview coming up Monday at the huge Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and you can bet these new numbers will come up in our conversation.

In a statement emailed to me Thursday evening, Microsoft says it is "proud of the contributions Xbox 360 is making to the gaming industry, and looks forward to an even more successful 2008."

These are big numbers. We'll wait to see what kind of holiday shopping season Nintendo had; and of course any signal from Sony that Playstation enjoyed some kind of renaissance, though it's tough to think Sony saw good news when Microsoft's numbers are this strong.

Questions? Comments?