Are gaming consoles doomed? Will virtual reality save them?

More people are using either smart TVs or streaming devices to access online content than gaming consoles, according to a new report from Parks Associates.

“Gaming consoles were once the dominant platform for accessing online content, but today, only 32 percent of U.S. broadband households with at least one Internet-connected [consumer electronics] device use their gaming console as their primary platform,” said Barbara Kraus, Director of Research at Parks Associates.

“Gaming consoles are still in the lead, but smart TVs are a close second at 28%, with streaming media players third at 26%. However, broadband households will not purchase a gaming console just for streaming, so the future lies in new uses for consoles such as virtual reality.”

Parks Associates released the report to coincide with the E3 game industry conference this week in Los Angeles.

The research also finds that broadband households differ in what games are played on various devices.

“The types of games are different for streaming media players than for gaming consoles, in most instances,” Kraus said. “Games on Roku are generally more casual while Amazon and Nvidia are targeting ‘tweens’-consumers who want to play gaming at a level above casual but below traditional console and PC gaming.

“To really succeed at gaming, however, streaming media players would benefit from owning a gaming catalog with exclusive titles. Amazon and Nvidia have catalogs, but it’s also likely that streaming players are attracting a different market than consoles or PCs and it remains to be seen if these catalogs will include the big game that goes viral.”

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