Several weeks ago the NXE, or "New Xbox Experience," was delivered to all Xbox 360 owners with their consoles online (which is to say the vast majority of 360 owners). While the NXE brought the 360 in line with the Nintendo Wii as far as user features are concerned (avatars, social networking elements), the biggest addition was the ability to stream movies via Netflix.
The Xbox Live Marketplace, where one can buy games, movies, TV shows, and other media, has reportedly seen constant growth since the NXE was launched. Aaron Greenberg, group product manager for the Xbox 360, claims that movie downloads have jumped by about 49 percent and TV episode downloads went up 30 percent during the week after the NXE launched. Greenberg also said that Xbox Live Arcade sales nearly tripled in that same week.
According to Kotaku, the increase in downloaded games was caused by specific titles and was not necessarily a blanket increase. Games which utilize the NXE Avatar feature, like Uno and A Kingdom for Keflings, saw sales numbers jump substantially.
According to Greenberg, "We are bringing a much broader audience into the experience. We’ve made the Xbox easier to navigate and that’s resulted in people buying new content." While some may prefer Sony’s XrossMediaBar (XMB), the NXE from Microsoft is nothing to sneeze at, and is in some cases a more visually stimulating interface.
Microsoft also reported that as of the NXE rollout, the Xbox LIVE service now has 14 million active users, its highest number ever.
While increased sales of what some would consider "casual" games is important in a time where casual game use is at an all time high, Xbox exclusive Gears of War 2 selling three million copies probably helps Microsoft’s Live statistics just as much as the casual games.