Xbox Live update proves popular among gamers

The number of people taking to Xbox Live to watch video and use entertainment apps exploded at the end of the year, Microsoft's Major Nelson says.

A look at the new Xbox Live dashboard.
A look at the new Xbox Live dashboard. Microsoft

Microsoft's late 2011 Xbox Live update prompted users to flock to the online service last year, according to Microsoft.

In 2011, Xbox Live video viewing jumped 140 percent, compared to 2010, Microsoft's director of programming for Xbox Live Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb wrote yesterday in a blog post. He didn't provide exact viewership figures.

Hryb also said that 60 percent of U.S.-based Xbox Live Gold members accessed entertainment applications during December and spent an average of one hour each day using the programs. In addition, the number of people globally who used Xbox Live entertainment apps jumped nearly 50 percent between November and December.

It should be no surprise Xbox Live usage is on the rise. In its Xbox Live update launched last month, Microsoft added a host of improvements, including support for boatloads of television programming. The company has also added access to both video-on-demand and live television, thanks to partnerships with cable and satellite providers.

At the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month, Microsoft further bolstered its service by announcing a partnership with News Corporation that will make Fox broadcast programming available to Xbox Live. The content, which will be coming to Xbox Live "soon," includes episodes of "Family Guy," "House," "Glee," and Fox News Channel programming.

Looking ahead, Hryb says Microsoft has some plans to improve Xbox Live this year, including attracting "more of the world's leading entertainment providers." The company also plans to continue to roll out more content from partnerships it has already struck.

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