Gaming Consoles as Home Entertainment Devices; More Than Just Gaming

June 15, 2013, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Gamers rejoice. The E3 video game conference in Los Angeles has brought forth gaming consoles from Microsoft and Sony – yes, those very consoles we were all looking forward to lay our hands on. Though both companies had announced their consoles earlier, we had only a little knowledge about them.

If everything goes right, then the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 will start shipping before the holiday season and will join Nintendo’s Wii U, which is already available in the market.

One significant fact about the three machines is that they offer more than just gaming. Apart from gaming, they come with entertainment services like television, movies and music.

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Taking a closer look into the details, you would know that Japanese gaming company Nintendo had launched the Wii U in November last year. This popular gaming console features a tablet-like controller with a touch screen, dubbed GamePad, used to control games on the TV set or you can play it like a regular tablet.

The Wii U GamePad also acts like a remote controller that helps to navigate a TV-watching feature called TVii. The service includes the favorite shows and sports teams together, including the Internet video service Hulu Plus. The Wii U also offers chat services on social media. Unlike its predecessor Wii, the Wii U comes with high-definition graphics..

But in spite of all these features, sales of the Wii U have been not up to the mark. Though Nintendo had expected to sell about 5.5 million units, the Wii has originally sold just 3.5 million units until the March 31. At E3, Nintendo introduced new titles, including the racing game Mario Kart 8, and  “Donkey Kong Country. Those who have interest in the Wii U, can own it for $300.

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Meanwhile, Sony, at the E3, shared a few details about its upcoming PlayStation 4. The company showed off its slick new game machine at E3 along with many new games and an attractive price tag that is lower than Microsoft’s Xbox One by $100.

According to Sony, the PS4 would have a new design, which makes it easier for developers to create games. But with the new console you won’t be able to play games created for the other three previous PlayStations. Sony has offered that players can stream older games over the Internet.

The new PS4 would have features like social networking and remote access. You can also broadcast video of your game play. Sony’s PlayStation online network will also provide access to Sony’s video and music services, along with Netflix (NFLX), Hulu, Amazon and Facebook.

Like the PS3, the PS4 would also sport a Blu-ray disc drive for movies. As per reports, this game console will start shipping this holiday season and will be priced at $399.

The most anticipated devices of them all is by all means Microsoft’s new game console named the Xbox One, which is expected to deliver a bunch of home entertainment  features. It is an all-in-one device that allows its users to play movies, watch television, listen to music and even lets you browse the Internet.

You can use voice commands to switch between watching TV and playing games. Microsoft’s new camera-based Kinect controller delivers better motion and voice detection than the previous game console from the company. And this time, the Xbox One will require Kinect.

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At the E3 podium, Microsoft showed off games such as Ryse: Son of Rome, Killer Instinct and Titanfall.  The Xbox One will launch this holiday season and will be priced at $499.

What we see here is a major shift in strategy from the console makers. Gaming, of course, is the prime driver in all these machines. But then, it isn’t just gaming that would make the three devices saleable stuff. And, that’s interesting. Home entertainment on gaming devices could be making its entry from now on. That apart, social networking too would get a boost on the game arena too.

So guys, what more would you ask for from gaming consoles that come your way in the future?

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