Maroon and Gamer: Game Consoles: Not Just for Gaming Anymore.

Back during the advent of the Sony PlayStation 2, it was a revolutionary concept to include a DVD player in a gaming machine. For the first time, consumers were buying two machines for the price of one. It, among other factors, led to the PlayStation 2 becoming one of the highest-selling game consoles in the gaming industry, even when the next generation of consoles came around. Nowadays, a DVD player is expected with the current-generation consoles offering services that change a platform that was once exclusive to playing video games. It is surprising to hear that people will use gaming consoles more for watching movies, checking Facebook, listening to music and more than for gaming.

On March 26, The Los Angeles Times reported, “Microsoft’s Xbox 360 video game console is now used more for watching movies and TV shows and listening to music online than playing video games online… Yusuf Mehdi, who heads up marketing and strategy for Microsoft’s Xbox business, [said] ‘What we’re seeing is that people are turning on the Xbox to play games and then keeping it on afterwards to get other types of entertainment.’” It’s very peculiar to see that there has been a paradigm shift from gaming console to multimedia device similar to a personal computer or a smart phone.

MSNBC.com had a similar story and asked the very important question that this data would seemingly imply: “Does this mean people aren’t using their consoles to play games anymore? Not exactly. Online and offline gameplay still combine to make up a majority of usage time on all three consoles, though proportional gaming time did decrease slightly for Nintendo Wii users [in 2011].” I think we’re seeing the living room becoming more of an entertainment center by combining what game consoles can do and what a computer is capable of doing.

On the social networking front, we saw Facebook and Twitter being integrated with Xbox Live. If I unlock a very difficult accolade or achievement or think the achievement name was funny, I am able to share that achievement through Facebook so my friends can view it. I am also able to look at my Facebook friends list and see which ones have Xbox Live accounts so I can friend them and play video games with them. With multimedia devices such as smart phones and computers becoming widely used devices, it was a natural evolution of the gaming console to include social networking, music and television.

Sound off in the comments below or email me at shfawcet@asu.edu with your usage of video game consoles whether it is more gaming or connecting through Facebook or watching movies on Netflix.