Microsoft's corporate communications Vice President Frank Shaw, writing for the Microsoft Blog, claims the Xbox 360 is used as an entertainment device 40% of the time, the rest spent playing online games over Xbox Live. Shaw is referring to apps such as Netflix, the recently added Hulu, Microsoft's own online movie store, and other such apps.
The statistic is more impressive when you consider there are over 55 million Xbox 360 consoles in homes around the world, and millions (if not billions) of hours are spent playing top tier first-person shooters like Call of Duty. The sheer amount of data passing through Xbox Live is staggering. When the system first launched in 2005, the Xbox Live Marketplace was gaming and nothing else, the transformation now apparent with a stat that has shown a drift in how users consume content.
Shaw promises more at next week's Electronic Entertainment Expo, gaming's leading event to showcase future technology and innovation. Microsoft has, for years, been trying to create a singular box that "does it all," a perfect piece of living room electronics that can handle any task. No more cable boxes, no other gaming consoles, and no other streaming devices. With 40% of their network already hooked, maybe they're closer to that realization than we thought.
If anyone is not happy, it must be game developers who are now seeing a slip in the numbers, where a sold console doesn't necessarily mean a potential customer for their next blockbuster title. It's becoming increasingly crowded and complex, and the number of gamers who simply want a video game console with no strings attached seem to be dwindling. In a market as competitive and as risky as video games, does that stat put Microsoft in a new light?