Since the PS3 launched we've really watched Sony expand the digital-content service into a fundamental component of the platform, an area they lagged behind Microsoft going into this console generation.

With that in mind, digital analysts conclude the PSN was worth a whopping $49.4million in the second half of 2010, up 40% year-over-year. Analysts also predict that the first-month sales of multiplatform digital releases (PSN vs. XBLA) are roughly even, with a 55-45 split in favour of Microsoft's console. That's outstanding growth for Sony's platform, as the same figures were predicted to be 2:1 in the XBOX's favour just two years ago. According to Fade (Forecasting and Analysing Digital Entertainment), the best selling PSN game last year was Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, a timed exclusive that scored over 190,000 sales.

In addition to positive sales, Fade also predicts that there are over 100,000 PlayStation Plus subscribers, which seems a little conservative. Anecdotal evidence only we know, but well over three-quarters of our PSN friends list are subscribed to the premium model.

Either way, Sony will be encouraged by the positive figures. PlayStation Network really has grown at an outstanding pace, and Sony deserve recognition for moving with the times and getting the service where it needs to be. It's a critical component of the PlayStation business now, without doubt.

[via next-gen.biz]