The Xbox One and PS4 Aren’t Just for Gamers

This sponsored article was written by Nathan Meunier, an award-winning journalist and freelance writer who covers video games and gaming technology. His work appears in publications including Nintendo Power, PC Gamer, GameSpot, PlayStation The Official Ma

With the latest gaming console craze only just getting underway, tremendous demand for both the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 means people are still hunting for both hot commodities even weeks after launch. Don't expect buzz over Sony and Microsoft's newest high-tech gaming devices to simmer down anytime soon. A long expected lifespan and tons of built-in extras top the list of reasons why consumers are hungry for these powerful machines. What might come at a surprise to some, though, is the new battle for a central spot in your living room isn't just about games anymore.

Plenty of gamers will get their kicks this holiday season playing through Battlefield 4, Killzone: Shadow Fall, Dead Rising 3, and other sizzling launch-window releases, but the release of the PS4 and Xbox One is part of a big push to make the living room the epicenter of multimedia action in your household.

 Users want a lot more out of their consoles these days, from social media connectivity and easy online sharing to steaming video and web surfing capabilities. A recent consumer survey, the Verizon FiOS Innovation Index , offers some interesting insights into how early adopters plan to put their newest gaming machines to good use outside of regular play. Given the popularity of services like Netflix and Hulu, streaming video from a console is easily one of the top interests among users. Sixty nine percent of tech fans and 58 percent of general users polled ranked watching video a high interest outside of playing games.


This broad interest in video watching on consoles is sparking some changes across the industry too. At present, 43 percent of paying Xbox Live subscribers currently watch more than 30 hours of movies and TV each month. That's a ton of hours, considering that around half of the current Xbox Live users are gold subscribers. This has spurred Microsoft to explore "hundreds" of ideas for new shows to produce and push out through video services.

 Despite being less of a priority for hardcore gamers, browsing the web, making online purchases, and interacting over social media ranked quite high among general users as well. Many of these non-gaming uses are heavily reliant on the prevalence of blazing fast high-speed internet connections, which now plays a crucial role in making consoles more dynamic and diversified than ever.

 In response to the user demand for more flexibility, major console makers are being more strategic about the kinds of functionality and services they're building into these systems beyond games. Take the Xbox One, for example. It has a feature that lets you split your screen so you can watch steaming TV, movies, or other media while you're playing a game. The newly designed PlayStation 4 controller has a share button that lets you quickly stream your gameplay, image, and voice online to Twitch and Ustream. Both consoles also have a slew of apps, ranging from Skype and YouTube to Twitter and more.

 That's only the beginning, of course. With both consoles rolling out regular updates on an ongoing basis, Sony and Microsoft have the capability to quickly adapt and respond to consumer demand. Expect more services and unique features for both systems to roll out well into their lifespan, bringing lots of casual users and other household members into the fold in new and exciting ways.