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Xbox 360 users prefer watching to doing

by Mark Tyson on 3 April 2012, 17:00

Tags: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Sony (NYSE:SNE), BBC, YouTube (NASDAQ:GOOG), ESPN, Netflix, Xbox 360

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A large portion of couch potatoes have become less active. According to news from Microsoft, 20 million Xbox Live subscribers now spend more time watching streaming content services than actually playing games on the machine. Microsoft has been trying to get this kind of presence in the living room for quite a long time. In 1997 Microsoft bought out WebTV to try and get its web set-top boxes in the living room, but it never really took off. In 1999 Microsoft worked with Sega to bring WebTV to the Dreamcast, but that never really took off, either.  In 2006 Microsoft released an HD DVD drive to accompany the new Xbox 360, which never really took off - notice a pattern? The rival Sony PlayStation 3 chose the winner in that format war - the Blu-ray optical drive. However broadband has taken off, streaming services have matured, buying content online has improved with fast and streamlined "app stores" and one-click ordering. It's never been so effortless to buy stuff online. Incidentally, some tech commentators say this ease/speed of purchasing is a better way to fight piracy than all the copy protection and DRM efforts of previous years.

family watches xbox

Yusuf Mehdi, head of marketing and strategy for Microsoft's Xbox business, said households now spend an average of 84 hours a month on the Xbox Live online service playing games, watching videos and listening to music, up 30 per cent from a year ago. Game-playing time was less than 50 per cent of the total time, on average. "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," explained Mehdi to the LA Times. He also admitted that the original Xbox also had been intended to be the home entertainment hub but in that respect, it never really succeeded.

In the US Microsoft Xbox Live can offer 36 entertainment applications including the following, depending on your pay subscriptions; HBO Go, Netflix, ESPN, Hulu, MLB, Comcast Xfinity, Vudu, and YouTube.

In the UK Microsoft Xbox Live service offers entertainment applications including broadcasters such as BBC iPlayer, Sky Go (32 live channels and 100s of movies and shows on demand), 4oD, LoveFilm, Netflix and YouTube.

Sky TV on Xbox

Using the updateable dashboard Microsoft has been able to alter the look, functionality and focus of the Xbox interface to gradually reposition the console. It's shifted from games to online games and these monetisable new media channels have become more and more prominent. With the Kinect motion accessory users can also control all the content with gestures and voice commands making the console even more family-friendly. Xbox Live is really becoming more rounded in its entertainment options, not only being much more feature rich than the rival Sony PlayStation Network but also keeping AppleTV and Google TV at bay, for now.


HEXUS Forums :: 12 Comments

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Now all they need to do is spend some more time polishing Windows Media Centre and they could easily dominate the living room for most users.

I've been using MCE since it's first release at my parents due to its simplicity and they absolutely love it. My dads friends with Sky / Virgin boxes are always blown away when he shows them several hundred albums, recordings, holiday snaps, weather apps, a film library, iPlayer streaming…and so on.

To say how much Microsoft want to get into the living room, they keep offering patchy support once a product is pushed. Getting hold of an *original* (not Chinese copy which misses features) of a MCE remote is next to impossible :(
Haven't we known for a while now that it's not piracy that's killing high street sales, it's digital distribution. There was a recent story about France: piracy is at a low due to the clampdown measures, but sales of CDs and DVDs have also plummeted while services like iTunes continue to boom.

Absolutely it's ease of purchasing. You sucker people in with little buys that add up over time. We buy things because “£2” is nothing for a TV show - I spend more than that on sandwiches every day.

When you go into HMV and they want £13 for the latest CD release, no wonder people balk. I bet a lot of people don't even have CD players any more; certainly not like the walkman era.

This is why Netflix, Kindle, etc are so popular. You can hop on, buy something for under a fiver and hop off. Your bank account doesn't instantaneously suffer and you're happy.
Well its the exact opposite for me. I only use my xbox for the odd single player game or to play racing/board games with my other half. The kinect lies unplugged and I haven't paid for gold in years. My bluray player on the other hand is hardly ever off as I get access to BBC iplayer in HD (far better quality than the xbox) and its silent unlike my 3/4 year old xbox. I guess its finding popularity as its often plugged in to the internet so they get these services and don't release their are better ways of getting them…
Incidentally, some tech commentators say this ease/speed of purchasing is a better way to fight piracy than all the copy protection and DRM efforts of previous years.
Haven't … folks … on … Hexus … been … saying … THIS … for … years !!!! :wallbash:
Whiternoise
When you go into HMV and they want £13 for the latest CD release, no wonder people balk. I bet a lot of people don't even have CD players any more; certainly not like the walkman era. This is why Netflix, Kindle, etc are so popular. You can hop on, buy something for under a fiver and hop off. Your bank account doesn't instantaneously suffer and you're happy.
Doesn't hurt either that buying “digitally” is cheaper than getting a “real” copy - although HMV shops are bl**dy expensive, even compared to HMV online.

I've never bought music or film via XBox - preferring to get the former via Amazon (used to use 7digital, but their naming convention for downloads is “unique”, whereas Amazon is easier and cheaper) and the latter via FilmFlex/Virgin. Nope, my XBox get's used for games, with the odd film DVD stuffed in now and again.
cheesemp
Well its the exact opposite for me. I only use my xbox for the odd single player game or to play racing/board games with my other half. The kinect lies unplugged and I haven't paid for gold in years. My bluray player on the other hand is hardly ever off as I get access to BBC iplayer in HD (far better quality than the xbox) and its silent unlike my 3/4 year old xbox. I guess its finding popularity as its often plugged in to the internet so they get these services and don't release their are better ways of getting them…

+1

I've only recently noticed iplayer and other streaming services on the xbox. Films seemed rather expensive to rent or own. I guess once they get Lovefilm or Netflix (in UK) on there, then the prices will come down. But I love steaming on my smart TV.

I think as more and more smart TV's and bluray players find there way into people's living rooms, people will be less reliant on their xbox to bring in media streaming services.