What’s more, the growth of entertainment is not at the expense of gaming. Online gaming on the Xbox is up over the past year, too. In fact, Xbox Live usage — spanning gaming and entertainment — is up 30 percent year-over-year.
The shift toward entertainment is not completely unexpected, since Microsoft has been investing heavily in turning the console into a more general entertainment device for the living room. Sony’s PlayStation has a similar emphasis and Nintendo’s upcoming console, the Wii U, is expected to support entertainment applications.
In December, Microsoft rolled out a massive software update to the Xbox that allowed users to control the console using the Kinect. As part of the update, it also began to add more than 40 content providers to the console to increase the catalog of live and streamed TV, movies and music.
As previously announced, Xbox today launched voice-controlled TV apps from Comcast and HBO Go in the U.S., and MLB.TV throughout North America. To access these apps, you must be a subscriber, meaning it is not meant as a cable subscription substitute.