Gaming Consoles Turn to Video Streaming as They Age

December 19, 2011, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Check this out. Couple-of-years-old gaming consoles are becoming something more than just gaming consoles.

They are becoming more like streaming media centers, in other words, streaming video on game consoles is on the rise. And this is true whether it’s a Nintendo Wii or an Xbox 360 or a PlayStation 3.

According to market research firm Nielsen, Xbox 360 owners now use their consoles to stream video 14 percent of the time, while PS3 users stream video 15 percent of the time.

The numbers for Nintendo Wii are even better (or not, depending on which angle you choose to see). Users of the console stream video for one third of the time.

Neilson says the growth is fueled by the availability of services like Netflix, Hulu, MLB Network and ESPN3. When considering the amount of time spent, users hang out with their game consoles much more than before.

Taken in general, the time spent is also on the rise. Metered console usage data from the first half of 2011 shows that the three platforms combined are up 7 percent in user time versus the year prior.

Taken together, these findings suggest that streaming is incrementally adding to the time users are spending with consoles. Console makers are already aware of this.

Microsoft just came out with a major Dashboard update that adds voice-controlled navigation and some apps related to media content. The others won’t be long in bringing out something to make their consoles look good.

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