Game over for consoles as premium connected TV device in five years
A surge in connected TV penetration in North America and Western Europe will result in such devices, as well as Blu-ray players, surpassing game consoles as the premium connected devices in homes.
According to new survey data from ABI Research, connected TV penetration in North America and Western Europe will rise from just over 10% in 2011 to over 50% by 2017 with Blu-ray penetration projected to progress similarly from about 25% in Western Europe and North America in 2011 to over 76% by 2017 (standalone and game consoles included). At the same time ABI expects game console penetration rates by 2017 to pass 61% and 46% in North America and Western Europe respectively. Moreover, penetration rates in other regions will likely be significantly lower.
Analysing why such growth is more than likely, ABI says that in many regards the TV is the most natural device to access connected services and content with no need to change the video input when accessing online video content. It cites primary survey studies where consumers have placed the connected TV as the most desired device to receive Internet content on the main screen.
However, ABI cautions that despite this growth, however, one device type will not command the market, placing greater emphasis on the overall ecosystem. Explained Senior ABI analyst Michael Inouye: “Most CE manufacturers, notably, Samsung and LG, use a common platform for connected TVs and Blu-ray players. Microsoft and Nintendo play only in the game console market, while Smart STB leaders Apple and Roku don’t compete in the other connected categories. Sony is unique is its participation in game consoles (PS3), connected TVs, Blu-ray players, and Smart STBs. In the TV and Blu-ray space Samsung and LG have been the most proactive at bringing connected features – for example, introducing new user interfaces that parallel the features first made popular by the game consoles.
“The early connectivity lead enjoyed by the game consoles will continue to wane, but this does not mean these devices will become integrated into the TV. The eight generation of consoles will offer a boost to the industry, placating core gamers with new hardware while expanding the device’s role as the central media hub through complementary media and services. Game consoles will be de-throned as the most connected CE device, but they may remain the most relevant.”