Since November 7 there has been an 80 percent increase in the number of Xbox Live users, according to broadband usage monitoring company Sandvine Incorporated. What's interesting is that November 7 is also the day Gears of War started showing up in retail outlets. The traffic spike, they claim, is similar to what the company noted when Halo 2 was released in 2004.
If we recall, Gears of War came with a 48-hour trial of Xbox Live Gold. What isn't clear from Sandvine's analysis, as reported by ars technica and others, is to what extent this spike is solely from redeemed trials and what was the retention rate for those that tried XBL Gold. That's a statistic, however, we won't officially know until Microsoft decides to gloat. Throw us some numbers, Major Nelson!
Also revealed by Sandvine, Apple's iTunes service garnered a 140-percent surge in traffic; the culprit is suspected to be their recently-unveiled movie download service.