Dave threw the gauntlet down back in 2006(!) when he suggested the Xbox was a Trojan Horse, designed to be activated in the future as a central device in the connected living room. Today, that reality has, in many ways, come to pass. According to Microsoft exec Russ Axelrod, more than 20 million Xbox homes are connected to Xbox accounts, and of the total time users spend on their Xbox consoles, 44% is dedicated to non-gaming activities. Analyst firm SNL Kagan points out that in addition to those 20 million Xbox-connected homes, there are also 30 million homes in North America connected to PlayStation Network accounts. That’s 50 million households with connected game consoles. Not a shabby number considering there are roughly 120 million households across the entire US.
Yet despite the growth of connected platforms, the world of distributed entertainment is still limited, at least where TV is concerned. The Xbox can be used as a set-top, but Microsoft has shed its ambitions to become virtual MSO thanks to the high cost of content licensing. And while cable industry veteran Jeff Baumgartner thinks that change is coming, there are still a lot of messy battles to be fought where streaming rights are concerned. The soldiers have emerged, but the war for the connected living room is far from over. It may be several years yet before the victors are decided.