Home Gaming How much money is Microsoft losing out on by not giving us Xbox Live?

How much money is Microsoft losing out on by not giving us Xbox Live?

1 min read

Give it to us

The Gears map pack debacle has once again raised the issue about us not being an officially supported Xbox Live country.

Now instead of going into the details of why we are not supported and how we can become supported lets just look at the raw facts.

According to Microsoft themselves over 12 million people are on Xbox Live and around 23 million Xbox 360 units have been sold. Using my rudimentary maths skills that leads me to believe that around 50% of people who have a 360 are signed up for Live.

We’ll be generous and say that only 25% of people with 360’s actually have an Gold membership which means that around 6 million people world wide are paying Microsoft $50 (R523) per annum for Live access.

That’s $300 000 000 per annum in Live subs… okay anyone want to guess why Microsoft will never offer free live? Anyway back to the point.

In South Africa there are over 75 000 Xbox 360’s in the marketplace, so if we work on 25% we can expect 18 750 people to pay for Live if it was offered. This means that Microsoft is losing out on R9 806 250 per annum by refusing to support our country.

And remember that is before anyone spends a cent on any DLC or Xbox Live accessories. Microsoft’s last excuse was that they didn’t know how large the install base in SA was, now that we know that you have to wonder what the next excuse is going to be.

Seriously Microsoft we are not asking for much here, just let us pay for things in Rands and allow us to download all the content that other countries get.

Stop forcing us to be criminals, we have a bad enough rep as it is.

Last Updated: November 24, 2008


  1. Rudolph

    November 24, 2008 at 13:41

    R300mil is not that much if you consider the infrstructure and support behind Live. Sure they make money off live, but I don’t think that comes from the subs.

    Some things to consider…
    – Salaries and facilities for technical support teams. 1st, 2nd and 3rd tier.
    – Salaries and facilities for devs
    – Vast amount of servers, which require maintenance and support
    – HUGE Network infrastructure
    – Marketing
    – Accounts and legal departments
    – Manufacturing and and distribution of subscription codes

    If you put all of that together, I don’t think they make a lot of money of subscriptions, I reckon most of the profit comes from DLC and the marketplace.

    Even though I want live in SA as well, we’ve got to realise that its not as easy as just putting a shitty server in some dusty server room and we’re ready.


  2. LazySAGamer

    November 24, 2008 at 13:50

    1. We don’t need a server
    2. We don’t need marketing
    3. We don’t need accounts or legal

    We just need the exact same system we have now but with a currency converter.. points have to be paid for using a credit card and a South African 360 helpline already exists.

    The rest as they say is history


  3. ScurvyJimBeam

    November 24, 2008 at 13:53

    The ting is they are not losing out on any money, since everyone in SA pays in pounds or dollars via ebay/online sites.
    So they are actually making more money by not brining official live to SA, if you agree with what Rudolph said.

    What they need to do is not block DLC!!!


  4. Fudzy

    November 24, 2008 at 13:53

    Good post Rudolph.

    Another thing to consider is that R9,806,250 is less than a million USD which when you work it down to a per month cost is even less prettier.

    I don’t think a local server is the issue here, just being recognised as a country would be a great step forward.


  5. Kale

    November 24, 2008 at 14:24

    Hmm you all make interesting points… So how does Sony do it? Some how I’ve spent the same amount of money on my 360 as what I bought my PS3 for (although my 360 doesn’t have blue ray) just to get the same features (I understand the reasoning but my point is I personally wanted the same features on my 360 as my PS3 and I coughed up enough dough for it)and I still have to pay to play. Hardly any marketing goes into selling the 360 from MS in SA, it’s all up to the retailer and as for 360 support line – I was told that it would be cheaper to buy a new console that to fix the LAN adapter – that was a great help, so I bought the wireless adapter at half the price of a console! They are willing to drop the price over and over but don’t keep the price and provide a service to keep current customers happy. We pay the same price for the goods as the US, are we just some extra dollars on their sales list and nothing more!? To hell with that, why should we get the short end of the stick then be told to be happy about what we have. I don’t particularly think MS are struggling with the X-box sales; they are doing better than Sony…


  6. ewie

    November 24, 2008 at 14:52

    No they are still loosing on a big revenue stream, as currently only 2000 – 3000 people are on live. where it could be 20 000 – 30 000. so they could get 10 X the revenue they currently get.


  7. baba

    November 24, 2008 at 15:20

    I’m thinking: Great picture, but the screw needs to go in the other way, with the guy bend over!


  8. Wolfy

    November 24, 2008 at 15:53

    thats horse snot man. We will pay the same amount for live like the americans or the europeans. I think MS just doesnt want to lift a finger for they’re suppliers. Its like having a lazy dog that only begs for food when its hungry but wont get you the paper when you tell it to


  9. Rudolph

    November 24, 2008 at 16:17

    1. We don’t need a server
    This all depends on the architecture of XBL. There is no way that they’re going to change the entire architecture for such a small amount of users (if a change is neccesary).

    2. We don’t need marketing
    So you reckon they will just be happy with the initial sign up and leave the rest of the country in the dark?

    3. We dont need accounts or legal
    If people are paying for something, you needs people to do the accounts. Legal is even more important, especially when it comes to stuff like DLC. Every little bit needs to checked, whether they have the right to distribute it in SA, can they obtain the rights, how much will it cost etc etc etc.

    You make a good point about the fact that we don’t want the whole service, but unfortunately, its a bit of a catch-22 for MS. If they only give us the ability to pay in rands, and nothing else, then they are still not allowed to advertise XBL in SA, as it is not the same service people who read up on it expects.

    Also, we might be happy with only getting to pay in rands, but how long do you think it’ll be before other people start bitching about “not getting what they’re paying for” and then MS are the bad guys once again.

    Keep in mind that I’m on your side here, I also want XBL out of the box, all I’m saying is that its just not as easy as we might think. And MS, being a company, will not do something if its not financially viable, which I’ve got to say, I don’t think it is at this stage.


  10. Charl

    November 24, 2008 at 16:57

    One of the sole reasons why I prefer the PS3.
    The Xbox just don’t want my love!!

    On a real note, anyone have a handy guide on how I can get a gold account + points for xbox from good ol SA?


  11. easy

    November 24, 2008 at 17:14

    rudolph.. re-check the article… its $300m
    and i can tell you $300m id more than enough to cater for world wide support if you consider its per annum!!


  12. RivaZA

    November 24, 2008 at 17:23

    Go to http://www.xbox-360.co.za forums and you will find out all you need there or go to http://www.definiteplay.co.uk.


  13. LazySAGamer

    November 24, 2008 at 21:47

    You make some very valid points and I do agree with you on a lot of them, however all that I am going for at this stage is to be given legal access to the same level of Live that we have now.

    As for us then complaining about wanting more, lets cross that bridge when we come to it 😉


  14. LazySAGamer

    November 24, 2008 at 21:50

    Or you can go to http://www.gamepointsnow.com and use the code gamerlobby.net for a discount


  15. TT25

    November 25, 2008 at 08:43

    Or go to http://www.evogames.co.za
    yip good ol SA. The guys are awesome, their service is fast and I have never had a problem!


  16. RivaZA

    November 25, 2008 at 15:46

    If Sony can do it, why can’t MS?


  17. RivaZA

    November 25, 2008 at 15:57

    Yeah R599 or R451.35(P29.99×15.05) for a 12 month Xbox Live card? You choose.


  18. ewie

    November 25, 2008 at 16:09

    CC or eft, luckily i have a cc and can buy oversees, but some people will have to use the eft, or cash route.


  19. Wolfy

    November 26, 2008 at 13:39

    okay now its just to get a hdd and and ADSL line i have iburst but read on other forums its a waste to even try and play live on it


  20. ewie

    November 26, 2008 at 14:27

    it will work, but this depend on how far from the tower you are and signal strength. Also games with a lot of MP traffic might not be possible, e.g. only 8 player matches and not 12 player.


  21. doobiwan

    November 26, 2008 at 15:03

    It also depends what you want to play. twitch games suffer more.


  22. RivaZA

    November 26, 2008 at 16:17

    Oh okay. I did not know that you could use eft at EVO.


  23. RivaZA

    November 26, 2008 at 19:29

    Sorry, but where do I put in the code? I use google check out.


  24. LazySAGamer

    November 26, 2008 at 21:44

    You got me there… I am not sure I was just trying to help out Gamerlobby by repeating the instructions I received in an email a little while back.

    Isn’t there somewhere to put in a code before adding your Google Checkout details?


  25. kab123

    November 27, 2008 at 08:05

    “Microsoft is losing out on R9 806 250 per annum by refusing to support our country”

    Firstly, I highly doubt 25% of RSA Xbox users are actively on gold live. But let’s assume they are….(wouldn’t MS be getting that money anyway then?)

    Face it lads, R9million per year = $75000 per month. MS writes that of monthly in rounding errors. They pay that for their coffee club. Perhaps the best they can do is to legally allow RSA to purchase with CC’s. Perhaps even through in a currency converter. As for official infrastructural support, that isn’t going to happen in our current telecoms climate. We’ll probably need 500,000+ subscribers before they’ll start looking interested. 18,000 (massive assumption imo) ain’t going to cut it.

    This is not only a live issue. For yonks now South African gamers have battled and pleaded for official support for big gaming networks. Way back in the days of Starcraft rumours were always rife that mweb would host an official bnet server. Never happened. Same goes for WoW, WAR and the likes. We bound to pay subs in euros/$ and connect to EU or USA servers. Useless our broadband uptake does not dramatically increase, and unless we do not empower the 30million poor in this country to afford luxuries like xboxs, internets and live, local online gaming support will never happen.



  26. LazySAGamer

    November 27, 2008 at 08:39

    No we don’t have 25% of locals on Live, however according to international statistics if we were given live support then over 25% of people would connect and pay for Live.

    Which is why I said Microsoft are losing a large amount of money


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