Microsoft UK has responded to Sony's recent claim that the PlayStation Network has exceeded 20 million registered accounts, questioning what exactly it means.

Last month Sony sparked intense debate after it sent out a press release announcing that "the cumulative number of registered accounts on PlayStation Network has exceeded 20 million as of February 20, 2009".

The announcement suggested PSN had three million more registered users than Xbox LIVE, which, according to Microsoft's latest figures, has more than "17 million active members".

However, speaking to, Microsoft's head of gaming and entertainment in the UK, Stephen McGill, said that "there's questions over what does Sony's numbers really mean".

He said: "When we talk about our numbers we feel they're active users who are actively engaged in all the forms of entertainment we offer on Xbox 360. I think if you look at the comments made on the forums, or the comments made by analysts at Screen Digest then there's questions over, well what does Sony's numbers really mean? Are they duplicates? I think there's a lot of questions there.

"All I'm really worried about is, I know I'm the largest online video on demand service in the UK, we are worldwide, we've got a great online service the others can't come close to. They're not right now. When you think of our heritage as a company Microsoft has proven we are probably the only company in the world that can offer great online experiences for millions and millions and millions of people. And that's what we do every day with Xbox LIVE."

McGill added: "Sony do what Sony want to do and if they think that's right for their business to say those kind of numbers then they can do and will do whatever they want to do. Do I believe them? No."

For more from McGill head elsewhere on for the interview in full.

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