Hot video games like Gears Of War 2 and Fable II helped boost console sales.
Microsoft said sales of its Xbox 360 gaming and entertainment console increased 25% on Black Friday compared with last year's post-Thanksgiving shopping binge, and outpaced sales of rival Sony's PlayStation 3 system 3 to 1.
Microsoft said console sales were spurred by the recent release of hot-selling games like Gears Of War 2, Fable II, and Lips.
"We entered into the Black Friday sales period with cautious optimism," said Don Mattrick, senior VP for Microsoft's interactive entertainment unit, in a statement Monday. Without citing specific figures, Mattrick said Microsoft expects its Xbox franchise to enjoy "continued global sales momentum in 2009."
In its most recent quarter, Microsoft reported that Xbox 360 shipments increased 22% year over year to 2.2 million units. The jump comes as Microsoft takes steps to reinvigorate the Xbox platform and position it as more than just a gaming device.
Last month, the software maker officially launched New Xbox Experience, a service that combines the company's Xbox 360 gaming console and Xbox Live online network into a platform for streaming Netflix movies, holding chat sessions, sharing photos, and engaging in other online activities.
For many consumers, the most compelling feature of New Xbox Experience will be the ability to instantly stream high-definition movies and TV episodes from rental house Netflix. Among the 360 titles available are La Vie en Rose, Flawless, and Heroes.
The Xbox 360 is currently the only gaming device capable of providing a direct link to Netflix.
New Xbox Experience also features a revised user interface that, among other things, allows users to cycle through options as they would using Windows Vista's Aero interface. Available games, movies, and TV shows are presented side by side and will be easier to find and access, Microsoft said.
A new feature called Xbox Live Party lets parties of up to seven people chat and share pictures over a television screen while simultaneously playing games. The Personality Plus tool lets users create customized avatars to represent them throughout the Xbox world.
Microsoft in September slashed the price of its Xbox 360 video-game console by almost 30% for some models.
The cuts saw the price of the entry-level Xbox 360 Arcade system fall from $279 to $199. The basic Xbox 360 model, which features a 60-GB hard drive, dropped to $299 from $349. The high-end Xbox 360 Elite, which includes a 120-GB hard drive, now sells for $399 -- down from $449.
Server Market SplitsvilleJust because the server market's in the doldrums doesn't mean innovation has ceased. Far from it -- server technology is enjoying the biggest renaissance since the dawn of x86 systems. But the primary driver is now service providers, not enterprises.
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 7, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program!