Microsoft this week announced that its aging Xbox 360 video game console has just experienced its best-ever week of sales, with 960,000 consoles sold in the United States over the week of "Black Friday" and a tremendous 800,000 sold in one 24-hour span alone, again just in the United States. Additionally, the software giant sold 750,000 Kinect motion-sensor add-ons for the Xbox 360 in the United States over the week.
How big are these numbers? Earlier in the week, Nintendo announced that it, too, had sold more consoles than ever on Black Friday. But its 500,000 sales of the Wii consoles that day is for the entire planet, not just the US market.
"Entering the seventh year of its lifecycle, Xbox 360 just closed the biggest sales week in the history of the hit digital entertainment system," Microsoft Blog editor Jeff Meisner wrote in a post announcing the milestones. "Xbox 360 should deliver its eleventh straight month as the number-one console in the United States. Given the robust holiday portfolio and the new Xbox LIVE dashboard going live on December 6th, Microsoft expects holiday momentum to continue, driving Xbox 360 to finish the year as the number-one console in the United States."
Although the current version of the Kinect suffers from issues involving low-light conditions and requires larger-than-average rooms for acceptable usage, Microsoft promises a future version of the device that will be far more accurate, even reportedly recognizing facial gestures. (I'll believe that when the current Kinect can handle a simple hand wave in my own living room.) But in the meantime, the Kinect is being bolstered by an ever-expanding library of titles: Microsoft says that there are 75 new Kinect titles available this holiday season, over four times the amount available last year.
Aside from the Kinect, Microsoft has other plans to keep the Xbox 360 fresh while it plots a next-generation console, code-named TEN inside the company. It will release a series of updates to the Xbox 360 Dashboard, which provides the UI and app runtime experience for the console. The first of these updates will ship next week, providing a much-touted Internet TV experience that sees Microsoft partnering with various cable companies and content providers around the world. (See the related story, Verizon FIOS Announces Plans for Xbox Live TV, for more information.)