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A new survey by Nielsen finds that non-gaming functionality is on the rise among console owners – and among PS3 owners, it even surpasses the time spent playing games.
Overall, users 13 and up spend just 49 percent of their time playing games on Sony’s console. Xbox 360 owners spend 62 percent of their time gaming. Wii owners, which ironically are often the butt of jokes among the core, spend the greatest percentage of their time playing - coming in at 69 percent.
Watching DVDs or Blu-rays is the second most popular function for consoles after gameplay. Xbox 360 owners spend 11 percent of their time watching DVDs, while PS3 owners use those machines for Blu-ray films 27 percent of the time – more time than they spend playing online games. (The Wii does not offer movie playback functionality.)
Streaming media – using services such as Netflix and ESPN3 – is the next most popular category. The Wii leads the charge there, with 20 percent of users’ time dedicated to streaming video. The Xbox 360 comes in at half that and PS3 owners use the console for that 9 percent of the time.
From there, the percentage breakdown gets miniscule, but items include watching downloaded movies or TV shows, listening to CDs or MP3s and using the console’s internet capabilities for surfing or social networking.
The upcoming game from EA – set for release Jan. 25 – will be accompanied by an animated film made in conjunction with Anchor Bay Entertainment. Dubbed “Dead Space Aftermath,” the direct-to-video release will feature work by several animation directors and features a voice cast that includes Christopher Judge (from “Stargate: SG-1” and Graham McTavish (who will be in the upcoming film “The Hobbit”).
“Aftermath” is set in 2509. Earth has lost contact with both the USG Ishimura and Isaac Clarke, and the USG O'Bannon - the first responder ship sent to rescue them. Four crew members of the O'Bannon have survived, but what happened to the rest of the crew remains a mystery that will be told through the perspective of each survivor.
This is the second “Dead Space” animated effort by the companies. Producer Joe Goyette and supervising director Mike Disa are once again onboard. The DVD and Blu-ray will hit stores the same day as the game.
Here's the good news, while DVD revenue was down a stark 14% last quarter, according to the Digital Entertainment Group (a home entertainment trade organization), Blu-ray revenue was up 105% and digital downloads were up 19%.
But here's the bad news: About a decade after digital movie downloads started and over two years after Blu-ray launched (and a year since HD DVD folder), their substantial growth is still not big enough to make up for the declines in DVD revenue.
To be precise, Blu-ray revenue rose $118 million to $230 million, while digital download revenue grew $78 million to $487 million.
Standard DVDs, however, fell $470 million to $2.89 billion.
That's a $291 million gap between growth in new formats and the decline of the old.
Fox is betting it can haul some water off the sinking ship that is home entertainment by selling different types of DVDs to consumers and retailers, as Variety and Video Business are reporting today.
Under the new program that's being launched with some titles, the rental version your local Blockbuster, or Netflix, get doesn't have all the special features. It's just the film itself and some trailers. If you buy the disc yourself, you get deleted scenes and commentaries.
Both versions of the Blu-ray are better, though there's still some differences. The rental edition has the film in hi-def along with bonus features. But only those who buy the disc get the opportunity to make a "digital copy" that they can watch on a PC and some mobile devices.
First movie to get the treatment is "Slumdog Millionnaire," with others like "The Day the Earth Stood Still" and "Notorious" following. The details will change on some films, for instance both versions of the standard def "Marley and Me" DVD have bonus features, but the retail Blu-ray contains both the hi-def and standard discs in one box.
Hard to say if any of this will make a difference, but it's an interesting example of a studio using technology to adjust its business model. DVDs, especially Blu-ray, can contain all sorts of different content and features. If you want more, Fox's thinking clearly goes, you should pay more. Or pay differently, at least.
Renting a standard def disc, after all, is the most casual, inexpensive way to get a film. Buying a Blu-ray disc is the most intense and expensive. It makes some sense to put gradations in between and essentially scale the content based on how much the consumer is willing to spend.
And of course if it means that some people will pay twice -- say, rent the DVD, and then buy the disc to see all the features -- well, getting people to pay twice for the same content is pretty much what every entertainment executive lives for. Especially now that home video revenue, once the growth engine for studios, is in decline.
It's also an interesting attempt to combat piracy. If you rent the movie and then rip it, you wont get all the content you would if you buy it. Not that that's a real impediment to anyone savvy enough to download stuff off of BitTorrent, or willing to buy bootleg discs on the street. But the studios are always happy to find anything they can do to make it a bit tougher.