Xbox Live now has over 48 million active users but what does that mean?

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Microsoft has just released details of their earnings and losses for the second quarter of the 2016 financial year and there has been a combination of growth and decline in several departments. One of the areas in which Microsoft is doing fairly well is with its Xbox division which saw an impressive 30% growth with active Xbox Live monthly subscribers which has brought the total number of active users to the all-time high of 48 million worldwide.

It is important to note that Microsoft did not include the actual number of subscribers in their financial report, only the total number of active users. This means that the total number of users who are paying monthly or annual subscriptions to the online service could be higher but some may simply not be using it or the number of subscribers could have even shrunk but activity among those who remained rose due to more interest in Xbox 360 and Xbox One titles.

It’s also unclear how Windows 10 could have affected these numbers as Microsoft’s new operating system has placed a renewed focus on the Xbox Live service which may have accounted for an increase in usage in the PC sector. New titles such as Rise of the Tomb Raider, which just launched in the Windows Store as a Universal app, is connected to the Xbox Live service but players do not need to pay to take advantage of this connectivity. This number of users is very much about service usage and not income generated from it.

Xbox Live is Microsoft’s special cloud-based service for all games running on its Xbox 360 and Xbox One consoles and select titles on Windows phones and Windows PCs. The service allows for cloud backups of game saves, online multiplayer, leaderboards, cross-play between some games, and special Xbox Achievements (rewards for reaching certain requirements in games). Many users pay a monthly subscription fee for an upgrade to Xbox Live Gold which offers special extra services such as free games on a monthly basis. Several features are still available for free members though and those using Xbox Live on Windows phones and PC don’t need to pay a subscription fee at all.

While the Xbox Live numbers can be difficult to interpret, Microsoft’s total cloud services (which also includes Office 365 and other cloud products) earned the tech giant over US$6.3 billion in revenue. Do you use Xbox Live on a regular basis? How do you think it could improve? Let us know in the comments below.