Yesterday, Microsoft introduced the next generation of its Xbox video game console. The Xbox One will compete with Nintendo's Wii U and Sony's PlayStation 3 in a market that has been radically transformed in the past few years. Now that smartphones and tablets deliver high quality gaming content to everyone that has a few dollars to spare, home consoles need to provide customers with additional features in order to lure them into paying hundreds of dollars for a dedicated gaming device.
Microsoft's strategy with the Xbox One is pretty clear. With its abilities to stream video content and pass through signals from a cable set-top box, the new console is designed to become the center of the living room. With voice and gesture controls, Xbox Home could add some of the features to the TV expericence that have been part of the consistent Apple TV rumours.
Above chart shows that the use of video game consoles has already extended beyond gaming. According to Nielsen data, one third of the time Americans spent with the Xbox 360 was dedicated to activities other than gaming in the past year. This trend will likely be accelerated by the arrival of the new consoles, which will ring in a new round in the battle for the living room crown.