Halo: Reach bloats global 360 count

Plus: MS research spend up $65 million.

The global total of Xbox 360 consoles sold now stands at 44.6 million, Microsoft has announced. And the game-per-console attach rate has risen to 8.9.

Those figures arrive after an "exceptional" three month performance by the house that Bill Gates built - particularly the Entertainment and Devices Division.

From the start of July to the end of September, Microsoft sold 2.8 million Xbox 360s worldwide - 38 per cent more than during the same period last year.

Halo: Reach was singled out as the reason why. Bungie's swansong generated $350 million for Microsoft in just over two weeks (from launch - 14th September - up until the end of the month). Halo: Reach sales weren't mentioned.

The Xbox 360 platform raked in $409 million for Microsoft, accounting for nearly a quarter of the Entertainment and Devices Division's total $1.8 billion take (EDD also includes Zune and Windows Phone 7).

Expenses rose, too - most poignantly those for research and development, which was up $65 million over the three months. Dun dun dun, what could Microsoft be up to?

Also noted was "continued strong Xbox Live membership", although what this means in monetary terms wasn't specified.

As a whole, Bill Gates' empire made $16.2 billion from the start of July to the end of September. Very good, although not quite as good as Apple, which trumpeted a record $20 billion haul earlier this month.

The other contributors to Microsoft's total were Microsoft Business Division ($5.1 billion), Windows & Windows Live Division ($4.8 billion), Server and Tools ($4.0 billion) and Online Services Division ($0.5 billion).

Microsoft's next money report comes at the end of January. Numbers should be astronomic, if the imminent Kinect can live up to the hype Microsoft has built around it. There will also be the global launch of Windows Phone 7 - out now in Europe/Asia, out in US/Canada from 8th November - to consider.

Moooo!

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