An internal Microsoft document has revealed that 56 per cent of Microsoft's global Xbox 360 userbase pays the annual $49.99/39.99 subscription charge to access the Gold version of the service.
The remaining percentage use the Silver version of Xbox Live, which as well as omitting online multiplayer gaming also prevents access to some content such as certain game demos – normally for a time-limited period.
The news comes from SeattlePi, though its numbers stem from mid last year before the launch of Microsoft's rejigged New Xbox Experience – a dashboard upgrade that increased the exposure and accessibility to paid for content.
The numbers also show that prior to NXE, Gold membership numbers actually declined slightly, down from 60 per cent 12 months before.
Microsoft's ongoing commitment to charging for Xbox Live flies in the face of the free services offered by rivals Sony and Nintendo. Fans of the service say this is justified as Xbox Live is, in their opinion, far and away the strongest online console offering of the main consoles.
Microsoft's most recent statement on Xbox Live stated that its service has 17 million users worldwide out of a total install base of 28 million consoles.