Game On: Consoles Are Changing How We Think About Entertainment

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(From Billboard.biz, November 5, 2013) Game consoles are no longer just concerned with who has the best graphics and games; they are now looking at who has the best entertainment package as a whole. M2Research Chief Executive, Wanda Meloni, says, “For the first time in a new cycle of consoles, the primary discussion isn’t around game graphics, [it’s] around entertainment.” Building an audience is the next focus for console producers, and Sony and Microsoft are leading the competition for living room entertainment. The Entertainment Software Association reported that one in two U.S. households owns an average of two gaming consoles, and a majority of those are connected to the internet.

Game consoles are now seen as the next “exciting new platforms for music” according to industry experts. About 30% of Americans listen to music on their television according to an Edison Research report, and this is not surprising considering how a household television typically has the best speakers in the house, is located in a central location in the home, and is the place where the family gathers for entertainment. Music distribution companies such as Rhapsody and Pandora are in the race to be the top music providers through game consoles. One way they are going about this is to get into games themselves. Games like Grand Theft Auto are played, on average, four hours a week by gamers, often without the sound. However, if Pandora can get a deal where they provide the music for the game, they gain that exposure and streaming ability to a whole new group. Music distribution companies are also looking at games such as Rock Band and Guitar Hero, but in a much smaller market. These games can provide great exposure for artists, but have a more limited opportunity for streaming music.