hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Trends of this Generation: Consoles as media centers

4:00 PM on 02.12.2013 // Daniel Starkey

One Machine to Rule Them All

Yesterday, I looked at one of the most recognizable shifts we've seen in the past few years: motion controls. In the next segment for this editorial miniseries, I want to address integrating a number of disparate services into one device that rests comfortably in your living room.

I remember quite some time ago, I would wake up early on Saturdays, play games for a few hours and then just kinda stare at the screen for a bit. I distinctly remember thinking that when I wasn’t using my console to play games, there wasn’t too much else to do with it. While it’s a bit sad that I didn’t have much else to do on Saturday afternoons, in my defense, I grew up in Oklahoma. And there’s NOTHING to do there, but I digress…

Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu, and a half-dozen other services now populate the dashboards and home screens of all the modern consoles. These electronics have become the centerpiece of the family living room. This is another paradigm shift which, in itself doesn’t seem too important, but when viewed within the larger context of consumer electronics makes an enormous amount of sense.

Previous generations, particular the PlayStation line, have always had some limited playback options, but only with the Wii, Xbox 360, and PS3 especially did we truly begin to see where technological integration was taking us. And even since then, we’ve seen so many more additions to functionality and capacity for each machine, that they can hardly be called the same beast.

The PC as we know it is dying, and has been for some time. Many people have switched their browsing to their mobile devices and use their televisions and home-theater setups to watch movies, play music, and organize their entertainment consumption.

This trend gets a bit more interesting when the idea of the “second screen” is taken into account. Many people no longer simply sit and watch TV -- they will look up facts about the show on their phones or tablets, use Facebook, text their friends, and generally divide their attention.

Microsoft’s Smartglass is the first of what will surely be many applications to begin taking full advantage of the fact that the current crop of media consumers doesn’t passively observe.

This is one of the few changes that I welcome with open arms. Integration of media playback has simplified my life. I can switch from playing a game for review when my roommates are out, to queuing up some episodes of Archer or Downtown Abbey. My house hasn't rolled music playback into this new multimedia paradigm like Microsoft probably hoped we would, but everything is still nice and smooth. I don't need to drag a computer into the living room to play Netflix, or Amazon video, for example; everything we need is available on one system, all the time.

I realize there's a lot of folks around who think that gaming consoles should be for games and games only, but honestly, I see no downside to these types of features on consoles. Anything that makes our lives easier should be a good thing, yeah? I can't help but wonder if all the people that think that consoles should only play games would really be okay with buying a Blu-ray player, setting up a second set-top box, getting another HDMI cable, and adjusting all of the appropriate settings. You'd also be saying goodbye to video streaming services. 

These are all things that increase the financial viability of consoles as all-in-one devices, and in an era where the invulnerability of the game market is now a vestige of an age long past, consoles need all the mainstream appeal they can get.

I, for one, can't wait for the day when I can do absolutely everything I need with one device, and that day may be coming soon.

Daniel Starkey, PC Contributor
 Follow Blog + disclosure dcstarkey Tips
Some say he never sleeps and eats only gourmet amaretto cupcakes. Others claim he's a hyperactive optimist. To citizens of the Destructoid empire, though, he's Captain Starkey, Intergalactic Game... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

ikiryou avatarikiryou
Went to play MGSV, got prompted to download the MGO data; it's not on the PS Store yet. Or maybe it's Kojima-san's way of telling me it's not the real MGO data, but is instead a janitor who once protected me from a puddle of pee and now wears my face.
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
Going grey >>>>>>>>>>> Going bald
Rudorlf avatarRudorlf
Recently watched the Cannon Films documentary, by the director of Not Quite Hollywood. Super entertaining, hilarious, and it almost made me want to watch some of the Cannon films. Almost.
CaimDark Reloaded avatarCaimDark Reloaded
PEOPLE! PEOPLE! PEOPLE! Tomorrow I'm meeting Shade of Light in RL!
able to think avatarable to think
Tip for those who have plasma TVs and are playing MGSV; go into settings and make the weapon icon only appears when you're aiming. I had to buy a new TV because the weapon icon got permanently burned into my plasma.
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
Any of you cute little butts gonna be at London Comic Con?
Jiraya avatarJiraya
You felt your sins crawling on your back... [youtube][/youtube]
Halflocke avatarHalflocke
what was the first game that used crowd motivated you to contribute ?
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
Mad Max, Critters and some The life and times of Tim to finish the night. T'was a good day.
techsupport avatartechsupport
I was excited to learn one of my favorite Philip K. Dick novels, The Man in the High Castle, would be receiving its own TV show. After watching the pilot, I'm cautiously optimistic. Looking forward to the rest in November.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
I'm going to be honest; this is my new favourite line in anything ever. GOTY 2015 and all that. Also cocks: [img][/img]
I thought Laura Kate's Destiny piece for Polygon was pretty neat.
Barry Kelly avatarBarry Kelly
Bungie have decided Kojima isn't the only one who can do 4th wall breaking shenanigans. Congratulations Destiny players, you're all now The Taken King.
I have (jokingly) wanted a remake/sequel to Geist. And then I went to YouTube to watch a longplay to see it in action again and thought, "nevermind!"
The humblest person I know avatarThe humblest person I know
I'd been worried that Jim had been losing his sanity with all the Steam sludge he's always attacking. If you've been feeling the same way, good news. His new vid warmed that void and reminded me that I follow him because he had no sanity to start with. ;)
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
Reading the Star Citizen expose reminded me of the whole Firefall mess last year. [url=""]Found the gamefront article [/url]
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
I went from listening to the soundtrack of SMT IV, to the soundtrack to Mario Kart 8, Smash 4, Fire Emblem, and now chilling with some Mother 3. All of it was pretty awesome by the way.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
After the 11th, I'm going into cryosleep until SMT IV Final is out. I'm sure Mike, Occams and Strider can manage without me. [img][/img]
TheLimoMaker avatarTheLimoMaker
In need of another writer for my monthly blog on the PS Plus games. Given how nobody really reviews all of them (and after spending time downloading bad ones), I thought it'd be a nice time to try and do it for the PS users out there. So... Need some help
Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom is a thing...TT_TT
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -