Sony has said there are 17 million registered PlayStation Network accounts, which puts them almost even with Microsoft, who says there are about the same number of Xbox Live accounts. But there's skepticism on both sides for a variety of reasons; anyone can spin numbers to get the desired effect, right?
According to the MTV Multiplayer blog, Sony has now clarified their comments. The thing is, one has to read this with the understanding that both PSN and Live accounts can be registered online without the use of a console; in fact, Sony needs your PSN ID if you wish to participate in the official Sony forums. There's also no way of telling which accounts are more "active" than others, or how much time everyone spends online. But here's the statistic explanation from a Sony representative:
"The PSN numbers (17M and 2.1M) include people who have created accounts on PS3, the Web site and PSP. Note that since the implementation of single sign-on, PSN ID and PlayStation Underground IDs (which were often created at the same time when first making a PSN ID) were automatically merged and rolled over. Additionally, since PSN is a free online gaming service, some households create multiple IDs so that a father can keep a separate list of friends, trophies and stats from that of his daughter for example."
It's honest and forthright, but we have to add that even though the PSN is free and Live isn't, this doesn't stop people from having multiple accounts for the latter. We know of people who have created account after account in the past, just to keep using that first free month of Gold membership perks. Thing is, when it comes to statistics like these, it's just tough to be accurate. Even so, the PSN numbers after only a little over two years are pretty darn impressive.