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Xbox 360 Black Friday sales nearly double Wii U

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Nintendo was rightfully proud of the 400,000 Wii U consoles it sold in the system's first week, which included Black Friday. But Microsoft has reason to be even prouder.

The Redmond-based company says some 750,000 Xbox 360s were sold over the same six-day time period, surpassing its own expectations and showing that there's still life left in the console, which has now been available for eight Black Friday shopping frenzies.

The good news didn't end there for Microsoft. Sales of Halo 4 also exceeded expectations, the company said, and Xbox Live Subscription cards saw a 50 percent sales bump over last Black Friday.

Still, there were some signs that the Xbox 360's long reign is starting to weaken. The 2012 sales were notably behind the 2011 Black Friday numbers, when Microsoft sold a record 960,000 consoles.

And while it's easy to look at the raw numbers and say Microsoft beat Nintendo's new console, it's more likely that supply limitations prevented the Wii U from posting higher numbers. (Nintendo, earlier this week, said the system was "essentially sold out" at retail.)

Among those who already have an Xbox, interest was particularly high in the system's non-gaming functionality, perhaps due to all of the football programming on ESPN Saturday, which streams through the console now.

Compared to 2011, Microsoft says, 'entertainment application' usage was up 43 percent on Xbox Live during the week of Black Friday.

Overall usage is up as well. Microsoft noted that on Nov. 18 -- while some were struggling to get their Wii Us up and running -- more than 14 million people were on Xbox Live for more than 72 million hours cumulatively. That's a rather breathtaking average of more than 5 hours per person.

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