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Xbox Live hits 4 million

6 million subscribers predicted by June 2007

Over four million gamers are now blasting, racing and cyber-sexing over Xbox Live, Microsoft has revealed.

In addition to these impressive numbers - which surely includes XBL Silver accounts - Microsoft reckons it's well on the way to reach six million online players by June 2007.

In more statty-goodness, the company also boasts that over 12 million Live Arcade downloads have streamed down broadband pipes, with an average download-to-purchase conversion rate of 24 percent (UNO being the most popular, with a 50 percent conversion rate).

Apparently 70 percent of users are downloading content, and have managed to work their way through over 70 million pieces of downloadable content since the Xbox 360's launch last year.

In addition, MS says that over nine million voice and text messages have done the rounds and since Xbox Live launched in November 2002, users have all-together managed to log over 2 billion hours of gaming. That's a lot of frags.

After all this time Bungie's seminal shooter, Halo 2 is still sitting at the top of the XBL charts as the most-played online game, but Microsoft says that its looking top Xbox 1 sequel with an expanded list of first and third-party exclusives - including its flagship shooter Gears of War - and at the same time increase uptake of Xbox Live gold accounts.

Of course MS will face increased competition over the next year with the launch of the PS3's online service and the Wii's own Wi-Fi shenanigans. Is MS worried? "We openly welcome other console platforms to join us in [the online] space," they said, mockingly.