Is the Xbox 360 even for games anymore?

Last night I plopped down in front of my television, popped on my Xbox, and used the video player to stream from my computer via a program called Vuze. This isn’t the first time; in fact, this is quite a common occurence as so much of my game-playing has transitioned to my iPad, 3DS, and, now, PlayStation Vita. As my life becomes more busy, sitting down to play games is becoming a forced practice. I do it when I need to play a specific game and the serendipitous run-ins with my friends on Xbox Live is becoming less frequent. (They’re busy too.)

None of this should be surprising given the new data released by Microsoft as they announced more features such as apps for MLB.TV and HBO Go:

Xbox Live Gold members in the US are now spending an average of 84 hours per month on Xbox Live, with entertainment app usage more than doubled year on year. Globally, this has led to a 30 percent increase in the total hours spent on Xbox Live around the world.

Of course, this doesn’t tell us how the usage is distributed. I find it hard to believe that we’re spending a lot of time using the music player (with its amazing 90s visualizations), but I’m guessing there’s a lot of Netflix in there.  The larger point is that iOS devices became a centerpiece for games because it was explicitly not a game-playing device. It’s abilities (and marketing) was focused on the other things it could do. Microsoft is clearly pushing Xbox down the same route. That strategy certainly makes sense, but is there a tinge of sadness that the dashboard isn’t the play-filled centerpiece it once was?

[Via The Verge]