Magazine and news publishers are now flocking to the “digital first banner” like greased lightning. The term “newspaper” itself may well soon be a misnomer; no more mere booklets of news (which is inevitably going to be more “olds” than “news” unless publishers keep printing every hour on the hour), the modern consumer will be accessing news in any number of ways. As of writing, people are reading news from:
• PCs
• Laptops
• Tablets
• Smartphones

As well as these mediums, the tech being released in the future has so much potential: from smart-watches which will get Summly news updates to the New York Times Google Glass app.

At the moment however, one platform is missing from the existing list. A machine so ubiquitous and unassuming to most, that its use as a news platform has not yet been considered: the humble games console.

At first glance it’s understandable that publishers may be reluctant to take the step into console news. After all, a games console is used to play games: it’s not as utilitarian as a PC/laptop which lets consumers read articles, watch videos and comment as they like. Neither is it a tablet/smartphone, allowing you to do all of the above while on the move. Consoles seem to be a completely different animal: a static medium with limited keyboard input but a whole lot of other interactivity options. So why should magazine and news publishers invest in this platform?

Looking at developments in the industry, there are many reasons to make this transition. Firstly, taking into account the hardware capabilities of existing and next gen consoles, limiting content to articles alone is like running a blocky early era Nokia Snake game on a tablet: it can be done but it’s a waste of potential. Instead, format the news to the platform’s strengths; imagine the experience felt by a consumer watching a high quality HD version of breaking news footage being streamed directly from the event to their screen!

Secondly, its potential for engagement is vast; why settle for simply using the console as a second digibox? Instead make the most out of the input options: with the current capability for consoles to utilise movement as a control for the screen, the ability for the user to use the Xbox Kinect or the Wii remote to interact with the story is infinite:

  • Users can zoom into parts of the video or swipe through articles, sync up to YouTube accounts to see related articles or commentary and post their replies and there’s so much more potential.
  • You can use also Identity Management and social sign on to link your user account and run analytics on what they spend time on, keep track of what is interesting to them and recommend stories or adverts unobtrusively to them;
  • The console can be presented as a screen within a screen that can be swiped aside if there is no interest.

Finally the Digital Rights Management system is already there; it tends to be harder to bypass paywalls and access control from a console than a PC and the option to offer unlimited premium content on subscription could be a major selling point.

We’d love to hear your thoughts or any further ideas on using a console as a more interactive news experience; please feel free to comment and add to the debate.

 

 Roman Singh, Business Development Executive

Roman Singh