Xbox Users Clocking More Hours Gobbling Media Than Gaming Online

Microsoft’s Xbox is no longer just for hardcore gamers, but rather is beginning to attract a more general audience looking to consume movies, TV and music online.

The Redmond, Wash.-based company said today that for the first time, Xbox Live users are now watching more movies and TV and listening to music than gamers are using it to play online games.

The recent shift is worth noting given the mind-boggling number of hours gamers are willing to spend online destroying opponents on the battlefield or football field.

Microsoft declined to break down the number of hours spent, but as an example, 3.3 million players logged seven million hours on Xbox Live on the first day alone that Activision’s Call of Duty was available back in November.

What’s more, the growth of entertainment is not at the expense of gaming. Online gaming on the Xbox is up over the past year, too. In fact, Xbox Live usage — spanning gaming and entertainment — is up 30 percent year-over-year.

The shift toward entertainment is not completely unexpected, since Microsoft has been investing heavily in turning the console into a more general entertainment device for the living room. Sony’s PlayStation has a similar emphasis and Nintendo’s upcoming console, the Wii U, is expected to support entertainment applications.

In December, Microsoft rolled out a massive software update to the Xbox that allowed users to control the console using the Kinect. As part of the update, it also began to add more than 40 content providers to the console to increase the catalog of live and streamed TV, movies and music.

As previously announced, Xbox today launched voice-controlled TV apps from Comcast and HBO Go in the U.S., and MLB.TV throughout North America. To access these apps, you must be a subscriber, meaning it is not meant as a cable subscription substitute.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus