I’ve been saying for some time that the Xbox LIVE audience is not only growing, but broadening demographically.
Some recent audience numbers confirmed this, and in a very big way. The Xbox LIVE audience has grown to more than 25 million members—a global community larger than any city in the world!
But, more noteworthy than the absolute size of the audience is its rapidly changing composition.
I spend a good chunk of time presenting to ad agencies and large advertisers. When I talk about advertising on Xbox, I ask them what audience comes to mind. Typically they describe a teenage boy, hunkered down in his basement, playing Halo for hours on end. Advertisers certainly can find an abundance of core gamers on Xbox LIVE, but they are often surprised when they learn that they can also find moms, dads, young women, teenage girls, older men, and more.
For example, you may be surprised to know that today, an amazing 58% of Xbox LIVE members are parents with children under age 18. What’s more, 19% of our core audience of 18-34 males has at least one child at home. These audience demographics confirm that Xbox LIVE is reaching into more living rooms than ever before—and more and more of those living rooms are filled with families. And this segment continues to grow at a fast clip—in 2009 Xbox LIVE experienced an incredible 40% jump in members who have kids at home.
With the recent launch of Xbox Kinect, many analysts predict that growth will accelerate.
The combination of Kinect’s ground breaking technology and the Xbox Live audience growth is powerful, because it brings together two attributes advertisers need now more than ever: reach and engagement. To move the needle for a brand, a critical mass of the desired target is required. But if that target is disengaged, what’s the point? Since Kinect launched two weeks ago, the blogosphere and the press have consistently remarked on how immersive and engaging Kinect is for every member of the family.
Based on strong early demand for Kinect, Microsoft recently increased our holiday sales forecast for from 3 million to 5 million units for the holiday season.
Assuming at least two-thirds of those sign up for Xbox LIVE, that’s an audience growth of about 3 million consumers this holiday season. That’s a lot of new eyeballs (and hands, and feet) on Xbox LIVE.
Microsoft’s GM for Advertising in our Entertainment & Devices Division