Study: Consoles being used for more than games

Video game consoles might offer people the opportunity to play first-person shooters, but one out of five consumers using them for other entertainment.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read
A view at how people are using game consoles.
A view at how people are using game consoles. Knowledge Networks

Game consoles are quickly becoming entertainment platforms, but age plays a major role in how gamers use those devices, a new study from Knowledge Networks has found.

According to the the market research firm, 21 percent of gamers between the ages of 13 and 54 watch a television show or movie on their game consoles at least once a month. However, most those folks--about 17 percent of respondents--are doing so by popping a DVD into their console. Six percent of respondents in that broad age range said they watch TV shows or movies on either Blu-ray discs or through streaming and downloadable video services.

Age plays a significant role in the consumption of content on game consoles. Knowledge Networks found that 27 percent of players between the ages of 13 and 31 watch DVDs on their game console, while 10 percent of those respondents watch Blu-ray discs. About 11 percent of people in that age group stream or download videos. Overall, 31 percent of people between those ages watch at least one television show or movie each month.

Those figures drop off significantly in older age brackets. Just 13 percent of gamers between the ages of 32 and 45, and 7 percent of those between the ages of 46 and 54 watch DVDs on a game console. A mere 3 percent of folks between 32 and 45 stream or download video once a month on a game console. Just 1 percent of those in the 46 to 54 age bracket stream or download content.

"Digital delivery of TV and movie content is clearly growing in popularity--especially among young people--but most actual viewing still happens via more traditional formats," Knowledge Networks vice president David Tice said in a statement.

That said, game consoles are helping streaming content reach more audiences. In fact, Tice said, "video game systems are proving to be an important transitional device in this space."

Although that's partly due to the entertainment content available on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network, it's likely also due to Netflix.

The rental company's streaming service is available on all three major game consoles. And recently, it made a native application available to both the Nintendo Wii and the PlayStation 3 to make it easier for users to stream content on those consoles.

Netflix is having such an impact on the streaming market that a recent study from network equipment and software provider Sandvine found that during peak times, the company's service accounts for 20 percent of all Web traffic.