Sony explains 17 million figure for PSN

Includes website and PSP sign-ups.

Sony has revealed that website and PSP sign-ups to PlayStation Network were counted to bring the overall user-count to 17 million - the same number Microsoft announced for Xbox Live.

"The PSN numbers include people who have created accounts on PS3, the website and PSP," the platform holder explained to MTV Multiplayer, refusing to be drawn on PS3 specifics.

"Additionally, since PSN is a free online gaming service, some households create multiple IDs so that a father can keep a separate list of friends, trophies and stats from that of his daughter for example." Yes sharing the same friends would be strange.

The press release, issued by Sony last night, boasted 2.1 million sign-ups during December alone, which represents a 90 per cent monthly improvement. This, reasoned the company, was as a result of PlayStation Home entering open beta.

Sony Entertainment boss Kaz Hirai told us recently that Home had been downloaded 3.4 million times, and we now know around 900,000 items of clothing, furniture and so on have been acquired by the virtual inhabitants.

According to the latest official PS3 figures, Sony has sold 16.84 million PlayStation 3 consoles around the world, prompting much eye-bulging over the 17 million PSN user announcement.

The last PS3 count came on 30th September 2008, however, and so excludes the rampant holiday months of October, November and December - Q3 of Sony's financial year.

Microsoft, meanwhile, has shifted 28 million Xbox 360 consoles around the world, over 10 million of which have yet to sign-up for Xbox Live.

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