Move over Johnny, mom and pop want to use the Xbox, and they don't intend to play Call of Duty. In fact, they're not commandeering your console for any game in particular; they want to watch a movie on Netflix. Or maybe it's a Hulu Plus? It doesn't matter, the point is, your game console is much more capable than the Atari 2600 your parents grew up with, almost a new category of entertainment, really. Do kids still play outside? If so, have at it, mom and dad are going to be awhile, they just just discovered Crackle.
Such is the evolution of the modern day game console. A report in USA Today
examines the big 3 in consoles (Nintendo Wii, Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360) and notes that all of them offer streaming video and some level of parental controls. Furthermore, the report claims an equal amount of time is being spent watching movies and TV shows, as playing games.
As these consoles become even more sophisticated and rich in their offerings, USA Today
warns parents they need to start taking control of their game systems. After all, all three can connect to the Internet, the Xbox 360 will soon have a built-in browser (features already available on the Wii and PS3), and all of them allow users to download premium content. Safety measures are in place to prevent accidental or otherwise unintended purchases by unauthorized people (like your kid who can't resist the temptation of a new game map), but it's up to the parents to set them up.
But getting back to the streaming angle, it's pretty amazing what today's consoles are capable of. There are a number of streaming services available and accessible through one or more of the modern consoles, and according to Leichtman Research Group, game consoles have emerged as the most common way to watch Internet content in the living room. Sorry kids!