By Patrick Avenell

The local team behind the Microsoft Xbox 360 was buzzing this morning with news that by Christmas next week, the gaming console will have sold 500,000 units. Using some creative adjectives, Microsoft claims this makes it the most popular high definition next generation platform.

“Although it’s a challenging worldwide economic landscape, Xbox Australia has seen an increase of 52 per cent in console sales in recent weeks compared to this time last year. By Christmas, Australians will have spent more on the Xbox 360 than they did on the original Xbox console,” said Microsoft EDD regional director (ANZ) David McLean.

“Xbox users to date have bought more software and accessories per console than users of any other next-generation console.

“2008 has been the strongest year in Australia for Xbox since we entered the market seven years ago and we still have two weeks to go.”

Whilst the Xbox 360 might be the most popular console based on the qualifiers Microsoft use, it is still a long way behind the Nintendo Wii, which is clearly Australia’s most popular console. The Wii crossed the 500,000 threshold back in July 2008, and last month, GfK figures showed the Wii had sold more than 750,000 units.

In other GfK gaming console news, Australians have spent just over $600 million since the beginning of October 2008 – a 40 per cent increase on the same period last year.