Analyst: game consoles unlikely to ever succeed as entertainment hub

DetailsEditor | 13 July 2015

The battle for the heart of the living room in the connected home was supposed to see the game console come to the fore; not so and it likely never will says a research note from nScreenMedia.

In the note, the leading entertainment analyst says that over the last five years console makers have worked very hard over to ensure that a large amount of premium video is available through their platforms. In particular, it cites the availability on all the primary platforms of leading over-the-top (OTT) and subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services like Netflix, HBO Go/Now and BBC iPlayer. Moreover it emphasises how Sony has even made its new PlayStation Vue pay-TV service available exclusively through its PS3 and PS4 console.

Yet report author and nScreenMedia senior analyst Colin Dixon offers three reason as to why the console has singularly failed to live up to expectations and why, in his opinion, consumption of premium video through the devices is headed in the wrong direction: casual gaming; streaming media players; and erosion of interface advantages.

"Looking at BBC iPlayer data, it is clear that the game console has not expanded its role in the delivery of OTT video to the TV screen," Dixon said. "While other platforms have grown their share of online video requests to iPlayer, the game console has stagnated over the last two years. Requests have essentially remained unchanged at 4% between April 2013 and April 2015. According to Adobe, TV everywhere requests from the device have fared no better, remaining at a 2% share while Roku enjoys 8% and Apple TV 11%.

"The truth is consumers have much less reason to own and use a game console today than five years ago ... All of the advantages that game consoles had five years ago for the consumption of online video have steadily been eroded by other devices. Though the console's core market of high performance gaming remains secure (cloud gaming services Gaikai and OnLive both failed to win over gamers) there seems little chance the game console can expand its role as the media hub for the digital home."