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The Next Big Thing
Consoles expand beyond gamingWhere's the console market headed? CNET's Brian Cooley discusses the strategies of Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo post E3.
[MUSIC] E3 2014 just wrapped up. And, the dust that is settling around consoles, is very interesting. We have continued to tweak and refine the PS Now. I was lying down flat, and using my head to navigate as I was sliding under a big tractor trailer truck. They wanna create a world that feels real, that sounds real. You could bring the sword point right up to the knight, tickle his chin or decapitate him, whatever you wanna do. XBox One. Now when Microsoft XBox One came out November of 2013, it had a very broad kind of a whole house message, gaming at the core yes, but also communications with Skype, streaming media, and pay TV integration, and of course, adjust your voice control through Kinect. XBox on. It seemed aimed exactly where consoles were going to be going. More broadly around the household. Four months later however, what it's mostly aimed at, is catching up with Sony's tail lights. The sales race is quite stark. Sony in the first four months has sold 7 million PS4s. Microsoft, 5 million Xbox One. That 30% Delta is alarming to the folks in Redmond. And at E3, Microsoft came out talking about basically one thing around XBox, games. They went back to the core. Its renewed interest and excitement benefit everyone. Creators, publishers, console manufactures and especially gamers. You heard almost nothing about Skype. Paid TV Integration or gesture control. This time, it was Sony that went broader. They rolled out a slightly new version of the PS4 and new games, of course. But they also talked about new peripherals. The Playstation TV box was rolled out. Which will, yes, stream games, but also be streaming video from a new service that Sony plans by end of year to compete with Amazon streaming and Netflix. They also had their Morpheus virtual reality headset being shown in development, with games like Jurassic Encounter and Street Luge. And they rolled out details on their Playstation Now streaming service that will soon let you stream stream games to future Sony televisions, with nothing but the addition of a controller. With the Wii U gamepad, we have the first dedicated screen in the long history of video games. For its part, Nintendo is still wondering how it can get back to being the darling of the mainstream console revolution which the Wii was once touted as. Their Wii U, with its kind of tortured game pad tablet peripheral was being shown as a place where developers are spending more time making the tablet relevant. They also rolled out something called amiibo, or amiibi, I guess, in plural. These are little sorts of toy figurines that had NFC technology built in. You would touch them to a certain portion of the game pad to launch the related game. And also bring in your history and preferences profile with the game and start gameplay right from that point. And everybody's wondering when or if Nintendo's streaming TV and movie platform will be a major player. Taking a first look at new Valve controller for Steam Machine. And Valve's Steam Machine platform is delayed until 2015. When it does arrive, it will have a revolutionary controller with touch sensitivity, tactic feedback, and of course, tie in to Valve's very popular base of online games, games written directly for the new class of boxes, and the ability to stream TV and movies as well. Now one of the most interesting facts around all this, is that game consoles remain globally the most installed device that is capable of streaming television and movie content, along with its core gaming mission. Not smart TVs. Not Roku and Apple TV boxes, those are actually relatively small numbers. In the US, about half of all homes have a game console. About a third of those, though, use it for TV and movie streaming. As of the close of E3 2014, it's still clear that no game console maker has yet fully cracked the code on making their class of products dramatically more appealing. To every member of the household, in every demographic and every day part, of daily life. [MUSIC]