Microsoft's Xbox Sees Big Green on Black Friday

Microsoft knew Black Friday was going to be a big day and now it has the numbers to prove it.

This was Microsoft's best Black Friday for Xbox sales ever. According U.S. retailers polled by the software company, Xbox 360 outsold the PlayStation 3 from Sony by a three-to-one ratio and saw an estimated "25 percent increase from Xbox 360 Black Friday sales figures from 2007," Microsoft said in a release Monday night.

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Microsoft also said "strong game sales rounded out a historic Black Friday for Xbox 360, with record-paced software sales continuing for key Microsoft titles, such as 'Gears of War 2,' 'Fable II,' and 'Lips.'

That game sales trend keeps Microsoft's "game attach rate" the highest of any console at 8.1.

“We entered into the Black Friday sales period with cautious optimism, knowing that dollar for dollar, Xbox 360 offers more social entertainment value than any other console on the market,” Don Mattrick, senior vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft, said.

”Xbox 360 sales have also surged worldwide since the September price drop, outselling the PlayStation 3 week over week across Europe," he said. "Console sales in Europe are up as much as 400 percent, with sales nearly double year over year and reaching 7 million consoles sold this generation."

Xbox's success is particularly striking given that Sony last week launched a new Playstation 3 credit card that offered applicants $150 off the price of their console. Xbox's success also comes amid stiff competition from Nintendo's Wii. Nintendo actually increased U.S. shipments by 50 percent this quarter to avoid product shortages that have slowed sales in each of the last two years. In fact, eBay alone reported the sale of nearly 3,200 Wii consoles on Friday alone.

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I spoke with top executives at each of the companies last week, and all agreed that gaming is seeing unprecedented momentum in this holiday shopping season, despite recession worries. Microsoft's numbers seem to confirm that momentum, with the company taking the unusual step of saying that it expects the trend to continue globally well into 2009.

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