Video game systems are in the middle of a complete transformation. Now more than ever, people are using them for non-gaming services.
According to a report from Nielsen, the three major video game consoles have begun to provide users with more than simply traditional offline gaming services. Rather, they have turned their consoles into entertainment hubs. As a result, the time users spent on these consoles is being spread out.
For instance, the report from Nielsen states users of Sony's Playstation 3 spent just under half of their usage time gaming, or 49 percent. Conversely, these users are spending 27 percent of their time watching DVDs and Blu-Rays. 72 percent of users who have the Playstation 3 say they have watched a DVD or Blu-Ray.
Yet, the trend doesn't stop with DVD and Blu-Ray. Game consoles are being used for on-demand and streaming subscription services such as Netflix as well. According to Nielsen, 26 percent of the people who have an Xbox 360 say they have watched a video on-demand streaming subscription service on it. 23 percent say they have watched a streaming service on the Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii.
Recently, Sony released a graphic that determined which consoles and connected devices offer the most home entertainment options. Sony listed 14 services, including Hulu and Netflix. Not surprisingly, Playstation came out on top with the ability to offer all 14. According to Sony's data, Xbox 360 was next at 10 services offered. The difference between the two, Sony says, are that the Playstation 3 can offer Blu-Ray capabilities, internet browsing, free online gaming and Hulu, whereas Xbox cannot.
Nielsen's data paints a slightly different picture. The research firm found Xbox 360 users spent four percent of their time on the console browsing the internet for video, social networking and overall surfing. Twenty percent of those who have owned the Xbox 360 say they have browsed the internet on it. Twenty-seven percent of Playstation 3 users say they have browsed the internet on the console.
In terms of weekly use per user, Xbox 360 reigned supreme over its two rivals. Both males and females average more time on the Xbox 360, at 6.1 hours per week, than the Playstation 3 (4.9 hours per week) and Wii (2.6 hours week).
Despite what appears to be the Playstation 3's more diverse offering, recent sales reports from research company NPD Group places Sony's console is at a firm number three in sales behind the Xbox 360 and the Wii.