Since last January, Xbox Live has grown by another five million users. That's what Xbox Live marketing manager for EMEA Robin Burrowes told me in a meeting this morning where he showed off the new Windows Phone 7 UI-inspired dashboard for the Xbox 360. "Our audience growth is up to 35 million people globally across those 35 countries on Xbox Live itself," he said, explaining that the growth was spurred by the addition of nine new countries at the tail end of 2010.
Though he couldn't speak to the divide in terms of paid Xbox Live members versus unpaid (last we heard, there were over 12 million
Gold subscribers), he did note that Microsoft is earning "more revenue from the transaction space than the subscription space." That means Microsoft's banking more from digital content purchases (XBLA games, Zune Marketplace, etc.) than from folks paying for the service. Of course, only some of those 35 million users will be receiving the new features of the upcoming fall dash refresh when it launches later this year.