If you're using your PlayStation 3 or Wii primarily to play videogames, there may be something wrong with you. According to a new survey, all the cool kids use these consoles to watch movies.
The modern videogame console can no longer accurately be described as a "videogame console." Yes, the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii can all play videogames, but they also have a host of other features. Most notably, all of the aforementioned consoles are capable of streaming video, whether it be films or television programs, directly to your TV.
Nielsen, the people responsible for tracking how well television programs are performing in the ratings, has recently turned its focus toward these new entertainment options, and their findings might surprise you. According to newly-published figures, PlayStation 3 and Wii owners are more likely to be found using their machines to watch video content than playing games. Generally speaking, Xbox 360 owners use their consoles for gaming a majority of the time, but Microsoft's machine is also a very popular video playback device.
"... the use of video-on-demand (VOD) and streaming services accounted for 22 percent of users' overall time on these systems last year, up from 19 percent in 2011 and 13 percent in 2010," the survey results state.
"PlayStation 3 users -- who drove the trend in increased streaming activity -- spent nearly 25 percent of their console time streaming content in 2012, up from 15 percent during the prior year. Wii users remained the most likely to spend their console time using [Video On Demand services] and streaming (32%), while Xbox 360 users spent about 13 percent of their usage time for VOD and streaming content, the same amount of time as last year."
Furthering its examination of how people use their gaming machines, Nielsen notes that the seventh generation of consoles is unique in just how people are playing games, mostly due to the modern ubiquity of broadband internet service and the waning popularity of disc-based video content. "In 2012, Xbox 360 users spent the most time (33%) gaming online, while Wii users spent the highest share of time (40%) playing games offline," the survey finds. "DVD/Blu-ray use in gaming consoles is declining, given the rise in VOD and streaming, but PS3 users were still the most likely to spend time watching DVDs/Blu-rays (18%)."
Nothing there should come as much of a shock. DVDs and Blu-rays are old news these days, and Nintendo's online offerings have never been what one might consider objectively good. By contrast, the Xbox 360 offers the most stable, solid online gaming options. The PlayStation 3 is also quite capable of offering quality online multiplayer, but the fact remains that it's one of the best Blu-ray players on the market and as such there are many who bought Sony's machine purely for that purpose.
How this might change with the introduction of the next console generation is anyone's guess, but we expect any shifts to be less dramatic than the ones seen here. Online gaming and media streaming will likely only grow more popular over time, and hopefully we can all collectively ditch discs as a whole. Storage space is super cheap and at this point DVDs just take up space that could be better utilized by action figures, lunch meats or friendly cats.