Games Consoles in the Multimedia Age

Games consoles are often compared unfavourably to PCs in terms of the diversity of features they offer, with many seeing them solely as a means of experiencing interactive entertainment and not providing scope for much else.

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However, thanks to the dramatic improvements in hardware, software and connectivity available to modern console gamers, this is simply no longer the case. So while the focus of a console may still be gaming, they are now all-in-one hubs that can engage users in the living room in many different ways.

Multimedia Conduits

Back when the Xbox One was announced in 2013, Microsoft made a point of asserting that the name of its third games console was an allusion to the fact that it is intended to consolidate the functionality of several devices into a single box.

As well as being able to hand the latest games like call of duty Infinite Warfare, this console includes interoperability with set-top boxes and HDMI pass-through systems so that other devices can be connected to it. There are even multi-tasking capabilities that allow two windows to be open at the same time. Imagine driving tanks with friends whilst shooting you’re your enemies what a great way to develop group friendships.  Of course should you want to take this to the next level, is a place where you and your friends or family can go for an actual tank driving experience.

Combining gaming with TV broadcasts and video playback is important and a testament to the fact that many users now indulge in second-screening thanks to their smartphones and tablets being available all the time.

Social Hubs

The other area in which games consoles have come on in leaps and bounds is the social aspect. And this is not just the multiplayer gaming that is such a standard feature of the modern industry.

Sony’s PlayStation 4 has been particularly innovative in this respect – not only allowing gamers to jump in and out of single-player titles remotely to help friends get through tough sections without being there with them, but also by embracing the streaming community through integration with Twitch.

Streaming has become a major part of the gaming ecosystem in the years since the Xbox One and PS4 were announced, with personalities emerging and people making a living from playing the games they love. Console makers are ensuring that streaming games is as easy as possible and are whittling away gradually at this PC-dominated part of the industry.

Endless Entertainment

The Xbox One and PS4 have carried on a tradition started by the Xbox 360 and PS3 by embracing video-streaming services such as Netflix, YouTube and a variety of other paid and free platforms. This is in line with the modern viewer’s voracious appetite for on-demand video, breaking the tradition of having to wait for something to be broadcast at a specific time.

The evolution of games consoles into multimedia powerhouses has been gradual, but as the industry expect expands and eclipses other parts of the entertainment universe, these changes have ultimately been inevitable and help the gamers as well as the manufacturers and service providers.

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