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Microsoft has decided to do a little pre-E3 bragging. Today they revealed that they've sold 55 million Xbox 360 consoles throughout the world.

Microsoft's especially proud of the fact that sales have accelerated as the Xbox 360 grew older. While 2010 was their biggest year yet in terms of consoles sold and retail revenue, they believe 2011 will be even bigger. In the first four months of 2011, Xbox 360 sales have increased 29% compared to the same period last year. This is triple the growth of the PS3 and the largest growth out of any console on the market.

The Xbox 360's accelerated sales, says Microsoft, are due to the introduction of the Kinect peripheral and expansion of Xbox Live features. Kinect sales figures weren't mentioned (saving those for the E3 press conference?) but Microsoft did share some Xbox Live stats. There are almost 35 million active Xbox Live members and they use the service almost 60 hours a month on average. That's 2.1 billion hours a month of Xbox Live use. Cha-ching.

A chart from Microsoft, below, shows the Xbox 360's year-to-year sales compared to other consoles. While the obvious point they're trying to make is that the 360's sales are speeding up even in its sixth year in stores, the more subtle lesson you should take from it is that they don't intend to announce a new console anytime soon.