Consoles used for VOD 22 percent of the time

Nielsen finds streaming service popularity increasing, PS3s now used mostly for non-gaming applications

Gaming consoles have been about more than just games for multiple generations at this point, but their secondary purposes are quickly becoming primary. According to a Nielsen survey of more than 2,500 US consumers, console owners spent 22 percent of their time on the systems streaming video-on-demand services last year. That's up from 19 percent in 2011 and 13 percent in 2010.

While the overall numbers show streaming gaining in popularity, the system-by-system breakdown suggests the big change has been on the PlayStation 3. Video-on-demand time surged from 15 percent to 24 percent on Sony's console. Combine that with the time spent watching DVDs and Blu-rays (18 percent), watching downloaded media (4 percent), and other uses like listening to music or surfing the web (8 percent), and PS3 owners actually spent the majority of their time on the system last year doing things besides playing games.

Streaming remained most popular on the Wii, with VOD accounting for 32 percent of time spent on the machine. And despite Microsoft's flood of media apps on Xbox Live, Xbox 360 owners limited their use of streaming options to 13 percent of their time on the system. Both numbers were down slightly from the year prior.

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Latest comments (8)

Andy Samson QA Supervisor, Digital Media Exchange6 years ago
"Streaming remained most popular on the Wii, with VOD accounting for 32 percent of time spent on the machine."

The "Wii", the console of choice for "Streaming" makes a lot of sense. Too bad the Wii Mini has lost all online functions and a decent component video output.
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Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters6 years ago
2500 doesn't sound a very big sample size to me. However I don't use my PS3 for gaming at all, it's exclusively my Blu Ray/DVD/NetFlix player, but that's because of it's abysmal controller. My Xbox 360 on the other hand, I only use it for gaming, since my PS3 takes care of the others. The big difference is that you have to be on Xbox Live Gold to use Netflix and the like on Xbox, whereas you don't need to pay anything to use them on PS3. Still, as far as gaming goes, even the Xbox is barely touched compared to my PC.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Dave Herod on 14th March 2013 9:29am

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John Bye Lead Designer, Freejam6 years ago
My own PS3's probably in the same boat. I don't get as much time as I'd like to play games on it, but my wife and I use Lovefilm on it every couple of days and we also use it as our DVD and blu-ray player, and for streaming media from my PC. I see that as a good thing though. I've got a huge amount of use out of the system, both for gaming and other media, and it's saved me needing to have a separate media box and blu-ray player. The only other boxes I need under my TV are Sky+ and a multi-region DVD player for all my old American and Asian discs.

As for controllers, they seem to be a matter of personal preference. I spend a lot of time using the Dual Shock without having any problems or discomfort, and find the 360 pad's shoulder buttons and triggers a bit more awkwardly placed for me. Both are far better than any Nintendo controller I've ever used. The GBA in particular was a horrible device that turned my hands into arthritic claws every time I played a game that made extensive use of its shoulder buttons.
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David Radd Senior Editor, IndustryGamers6 years ago
I feel like this comes up every time a major survey comes out, but 2,500 consumers is a statistically significant number. To put that in context, that's more than than many presidential polls that turned out to be accurate this past November. There's always a margin of error built in, but by and large a survey like this can be trusted as accurate.
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James Berg Games User Researcher, EA Canada6 years ago
2500 is actually quite large for a legitimate research sample size. I think missing pieces here are how many people have multiple media devices (two consoles, PC, etc), to get a broader picture of how people are interacting. This is an interesting data point, but you can't draw many conclusions without more context.
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 6 years ago
I mostly use my PS3 for blurays but I occassionally get some gaming in on it. All my streaming takes place on my 360 and as a whole I do spend a significant amount of time using my consoles for things other than playing games.
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Keldon Alleyne Strategic keyboard basher, Avasopht Ltd6 years ago
You can't draw any conclusions out of this.

When someone wants to play a game they put in a game, when they want to watch TV they either use Sky/Virgin or the on demand services. The percentage of gaming on the device means absolutely nothing to gaming. The only figure that matters to gaming is how much time and money is spent on games.

For example, suppose playing time and expenditure increased, while at the same time enough people switched from watching TV via the sky box to the XBox, reducing the percentage of gaming? What does the percentage say? Nothing! more than the fact that the XBox and PS3 are formidable devices for watching media, something we've known all along.

I watch most films on demand, and there seem to be more films on the XBox than the Sky box, but maybe that has changed now - though I don't bother with the XBox anymore because I just can't be bothered now that I can just plug my sky box into the router.

If anything it tells you more about and signals the near redundancy of satellite technology and the user need for more streaming TV services.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 6 years ago
My internet is fooked up, so my consoles are gaming only. No one even rings me up for game surveys anymore. I'm too "old" and have actually been booted from some online or phone ones as soon as I enter my age or tell the person on the other end of the line what it is. Oh well. You CAN target a demographic just to prove a point, kids - so I find these results listed here not so impressive at all.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Greg Wilcox on 16th March 2013 5:24am

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