In a new report, Microsoft brags that their Xbox 360 system accounts for an interesting level of entertainment use above and beyond video games. “While people are still playing a ton of video games, 40 percent of all Xbox activity now is non-game.” According to the stats, Xbox owners watch an average of 30 hours of streaming video a month.
With the Internet-entertainment-to-living-room heating up, multiple vendors and publishers are trying to push themselves atop the television set for all those couch potatoes whose eyeballs would otherwise be going to cable or the airwaves. The Next Web covers expectations of Microsoft’s “into the living room” strategy,
Microsoft’s content strategy seems to be paying off. By partnering with Hulu, Netflix, and ESPN (and by integrating Zune with its media relationships), the Xbox 360 console located in the living room has access to enough video related content to give gaming a run for its money in terms of sheer consumer options.
According to the company, some 53 million Xbox 360 consoles have been sold, and there are now 30 million Xbox LIVE members. The rise of Xbox as more of a media platform, and less of a pure gaming machine, is no accident: “you’ll see Xbox marketed more as an entertainment brand this year,” Microsoft said.
While other companies are fighting to insert themselves into the living room, Microsoft has already made the leap with a device more than capable of delivering streaming movies, Internet TV, and more. The stats themselves tell the story and the Xbox 360 isn’t even trying yet; although this tune may change dramatically with E3 on the horizon.
The first steps we’ve seen that will turn Xbox into a fully-fledged entertainment center have been in the previous months when Hulu Plus made its foray into Xbox LIVE at the end of April (enticing users with a free week of streaming Internet TV service.)
Due to the sheer popularity of Xbox, as an entertainment console it’s already present in a multitude of living rooms already connected to the television that other distributors and vendors want to be part of. Everyone is gunning for this highly desired position—Roku, Boxee, Apple TV, etc.—and Microsoft already has a beachhead that they can expand to into a full-on invasion without even having to sell extra hardware to likely customers.
The next stage for Microsoft to move Xbox LIVE into position as an entertainment center will be partnerships with major Hollywood content producers such as HBO, Time Warner, Disney, and other movie studios. It’s either that or they’ll tie in media distributors to get onto this already mighty network empire of customers ready-and-willing to use their video game consoles to watch video.
These media distributors would be very silly to ignore such a powerful and immediate partnership as both Netflix and Hulu have already positioned themselves to reap the windfall.