The New York Times > Technology > No Longer a Solitary Pursuit, Video Games Move Online "Multiplayer games played on the Internet with PC's have been popular mostly with tech-savvy crowds. Players using PC's have to be capable of configuring their computers to meet a game's technical requirements, but playing online with a game console is simpler. Once a console is hooked up to an Internet connection, players merely click a button that takes them directly to the online game portal.
In the United States, Sony has sold three million consoles with the online feature, more than 10 percent of the 25 million total PlayStation 2's sold, according to the company. But so far only about 1.2 million users are actually playing online, said Michael Goodman, a senior analyst with the Yankee Group, a research firm.
Microsoft says that a million of its 14 million Xbox users have purchased an online kit and subscribe to Xbox Live, the online play feature. While Nintendo sells an online adapter for its GameCube system, the company "does not see online gaming as an important part of our business at this time," a company spokeswoman said. Only two games for the GameCube are currently available online.
For $50 a year, Xbox Live users can play the 100 online games currently available; that number is expected to reach 150 by Christmas. In addition to the console with its standard Ethernet port, Xbox users must purchase a $70 Xbox Live starter kit, which includes a year's subscription, one game and a feature that PC players do not typically have - a headset that allows players to talk as they play online."