The seemingly-eternal console wars have taken an interesting turn in recent years. Once upon a time, the gaming consoles produced by Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony had one purpose: gaming. In recent years, though, the console makers have adopted a new strategy. These days you can power up your Xbox and spend a few hours playing Skyrim, and when you get tired of all those arrows in the knee, then switch to Netflix or Hulu or ESPN or YouTube and spend some time watching, well, just about anything. The console makers these days don’t want you to just use their consoles for gaming. They want to be your one-stop-shop for entertainment of all kinds.
Now new data shows that Microsoft, at least, may be getting their wish. According to AllThingsD, Xbox LIVE users now spend more time streaming media – movies, music, TV shows – than they do playing online games. Now, lest you start to worry about the future of online gaming, the growth of media consumption doesn’t come at the expense of gaming. In fact, both gaming and media consumption have grown dramatically in the last year. Xbox LIVE usage overall is up 30% from last year.
All three major consoles have been moving toward becoming more universal entertainment boxes in recent years. Even Nintendo, which was initially hesitant, has added Netflix and Hulu channels to its Wii Shop Channel. Microsoft rolled out a major update to Xbox LIVE late last year that brought a slew of new entertainment options to the console, including a YouTube channel and an updated Kinect-compatible interface. They continue to add new options, too. Yesterday they announced the addition of an MLB.TV app for Xbox LIVE, as well as apps for HBO Go and Comcast Xfinity.
How do you spend your time on your console? Do you watch movies or TV? Listen to music? Or do you spend most of your time gaming? Let us know in the comments.