Absolutely thrilling news came out of Sony today. Speaking at a media event (via IGN), Sony marketing VP John Koller said that the PS4 is largely used for videogames! Imagine that, a videogame console being used to actually play videogames? What are the odds people? What are the odds!?
Sacrasm aside, this is actually pretty big news. For a while, people were swearing that this was going to be the generation of social media and video streaming. Every console was advertising its ability to use Twitch.TV and integrate with Facebook. Major game releases, like Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, have gamemplay mechanics that hinge off social media. The Xbox One has an HDMI input specifically so that you can watch TV inside its interface. Heck, when the Xbox One was announced, Microsoft spent maybe 15 minutes talking about 4 games and an hour talking about all the nifty ways you can watch sports. Lump this together with every console’s Youtube app, Amazon app, Hulu app, and so forth and it’s easy to see that game consoles have become much more than just a game box.
Now, you’d expect newer consoles to mostly be used for their internet and media functions early on in the console’s life. After all, console exclusives are few and far between and launch lineups were sparse at best. There simply aren’t a whole lot of games to play on next-generation consoles now. So everyone must be using their PS4 to watch Crunchyroll or something right?
Wrong! PS4 gamers supposedly average 34 million hours a week on gaming. There are 4.2 million PS4 owners in existence, which means PS4 users are spending eight hours a week on playing PS4 games alone. Heck, I’m a game reviewer and I have no idea how they spend that much time. In contrast, only 16 million hours are spent using other PS4 apps, which is less than half the time. I mean, this still means that people are, on average, using their PS4 for 12 hours a week, which in my opinion is the bigger news. That’s enough time to beat a fully featured action title every week!
In addition to these interesting gameplay numbers, Sony has also announced that 3.78 million PlayStation 4’s have gone online. That’s over 90 percent of the units sold. The PS3 took years to get even close to that number. In its first three years, only seventy percent of PS3 users were online. 33 percent of everyone who has a Vita has bought a PS4 for their cross console connectivity and streaming capabilities. 48 percent of Vita software sales are digital, which is good news for Sony in general. Digital distribution is growing and will soon overtake hard copy distribution, if these trends continue. Since the PS4 is poised to allow easy digital distribution, and even game streaming.
The big question is, what happens from here? Will the PS4 continue to be primarily used as a gaming device? Or will non-gaming apps take the place of games like Killzone Shadowfall? Where is gaming going in the future? It is going toward games or will consoles just be cheap home computers? Let us know what you think in the comments.
Senior Contributing Writer