Game Consoles: Home to Movie Streaming War

Game Consoles: Home to Movie Streaming War

Video games are changing, and movie and television distribution are changing alongside them. Not only are modern consoles and handhelds there for you when you want to blast your way through a game, but they’re also your go-to spot when you want to lean back and watch a story that doesn’t require you to jump in and press “A.”

Recently, HBO revealed that its online video-on-demand service, HBO Go, will be coming to consoles. Though the service is already available through web browsers, iOS and Android apps, it’s not yet clear which consoles will be blessed with the ability to stream HBO’s movies and television shows past and present. However, we can assume that Time Warner is looking for a piece of Netflix and Hulu’s console-based market, so widespread availability is imminent.

A Nielsen survey conducted in July indicates that half of Netflix’s subscribers access the service through game consoles. It’s no wonder Time Warner wants in, and given time, more and more networks will want to ensure that their content is available on game consoles.

It’s odd to think back to when games were wholly their own thing: You plugged in a game cartridge, and you guided Mario across a screen. It’s true that some of the earliest game consoles functioned through a computer shell and were therefore multipurpose instruments, but despite efforts to make “multimedia” the video game buzzword of the ’90s, it wasn’t until the birth of the PlayStation 2 that people truly realized that consoles are useful for entertainment purposes beyond gaming.

We’ve come a long way since the PlayStation 2’s built-in DVD player, and we’ve only just begun to realize the potential behind game systems. The next generation of consoles is going to be more than a showcase for the best games: It’s also going to be a proving ground for networks that want to compete for viewers through consoles that pretty much do it all.

What kind of services will they be able to offer? What kind of discounts and deals will we get out of the competition? Will we see price wars? With the discontent bred by Netflix’s recent price hikes, fierce rivalry between networks is not hard to envision. Previously, game consoles served exclusively as a battleground for aliens, monsters, and heroes. Soon, business executives in suits will also be clawing at each other for a piece of digital territory.

About Nadia Oxford
Nadia is a freelance writer living in Toronto. She played her first game at four, decided games were awesome, and has maintained her position since. She writes for 1UP.com, Slide to Play, GamePro and other publications, and is About.com’s Guide to the Nintendo DS.

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