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Non-Gaming Console Use Rising: Nielsen

New York — Consumers are doing a lot more with their Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo Wii consoles than just playing games.

According to Nielsen’s “360° Gaming Report,” non-gaming usage is on the rise as hardware capabilities and streaming services continue to grow.

Indeed, gaming now accounts for only half of the time users spend on their consoles, down from 60 percent in recent years, with Internet surfing and TV, streaming-video and Blu-ray disc viewing comprising the other 50 percent.

“Users are now more likely to engage in activities that were more niche four years ago,” the market research firm observed.

Watching DVDs and Blu-ray discs is the most popular non-gaming activity, particularly among PlayStation 4 owners. Some 62 percent said they use their PS4s to view packaged media, although that figure has dropped from 72 percent of PS3 users in 2010.

Video-on-demand and streaming subscription services are the second-largest non-gaming usage, engaged in by 51 percent of Xbox One owners, up from 26 percent of Xbox 360 users in 2010.

Consumers also use their consoles to watch short video clips online, an activity pursued by 42 percent of Xbox One owners, 41 percent of PS4 owners and 35 percent of Nintendo Wii U owners, Nielsen said.

Music is the fourth most popular non-gaming pursuit, enjoyed by 35 percent of Xbox One owners, up from 23 percent of Xbox 360 users in 2010.

“Given the improvements to console user interfaces and a rapidly diversifying menu of apps for each system, manufacturers are facilitating even more opportunities for gamers and non-gamers to enjoy their entertainment through gaming systems,” Nielsen said.