It's "pretty healthy," he adds. His studio is parent to developers of titles like OutRun Online Arcade and SSFII Turbo HD Remix. XBLA in "great position."
"Certainly XBLA is past tipping point now," said North-Hearn. "We estimate there are about 16 million game purchasers out there currently. The 360 numbers are somewhere between 40 to 50 million, depending on who you listen to."
"It's pretty healthy. 30 per cent of the hardware base is not only online and using Xbox Live, but it's all those and buying games. It's got to be encouraging for that type of distribution going forward." Xbox Live business is worth over a billion dollars.
Around half of Xbox Live's 25m users paid for Gold membership in the year ended June 30th. So Microsoft is doing well, what does North-Hearn think of rival PSN?
"Clearly with PSN the market's not as big and therefore the data is not as established," he said. "Even though it's a smaller user base, and even though it's generally accepted as currently not being as successful or as popular, it's definitely growing. We can see that."
"There's less competition on PSN but currently a smaller user base." Foundation 9 is parent company to Backbone Entertainment, Double Helix, Griptonite, ImaginEngine, Pipeworks and Sumo Digital and calls itself the "largest independent game developer".
"We're strong believers that the market will move to both online and to digital distribution at some point, almost exclusively. The unknown is just what the timing of that is," added the studio boss. "PSN and XBLA are both great platforms for that to build upon."
"Connectivity and digital distribution, and dare I say cloud solutions are all where the market's going to go. XBLA and PSN are in a great position." Take-Two believe there will disc in the industry, despite digital's rise.
Xbox Live Arcade "past tipping point", 30% are buying digital titles
19 October 2010 | By Simon Priest