With the addition of online-enabled functions like video streaming, Web browsing, and social networking, game consoles are increasingly becoming all-purpose entertainment hubs. The results of a Nielsen study released this week provide evidence of that, as the media-monitoring firm determined that some consumers actually spend more time with a console's extended functions than they do playing its games.
The survey--conducted on a general US population sample of unspecified size--determined that PlayStation 3 gamers aged 13 spent an average of 49 percent of their time with the system playing games. The largest share of nongaming time was accounted for by watching movies on DVD or Blu-ray (27 percent), with downloaded and streaming movie watching accounting for another 13 percent.
Gaming accounted for 62 percent of time spent using the Xbox 360, with DVD viewing trailing at 11 percent and downloaded/streaming services totaling another 16 percent of usage time. Gaming dominated Wii usage, accounting for 69 percent of all time on the system. While the system lacks DVD playback capabilities, movie watching was still a prominent secondary activity, thanks to streaming services such as Netflix that accounted for 20 percent of usage time on Nintendo's console.
The survey also broke down each system's gaming time into online and offline play. The Xbox 360 had the smallest disparity between the two, with 34 percent of usage time spent gaming offline, compared to 28 percent online. Despite the PS3's free online infrastructure, only 19 percent of usage time was devoted to online gaming, compared to offline gaming's 30 percent share. The Wii numbers were the most lopsided, with offline play accounting for 57 percent of time on the system, compared to just 12 percent for online play.
Finally, Nielsen reported the average hours consumers spent using each system. The Xbox 360 topped the list with 4.9 hours of use per week, with the PS3 behind at 4.1 hours per week. The Wii was the least used of the bunch, averaging just 1.4 hours per week.