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Are console owners really that dumb?

Market research firm NPD has just released a report on the state of next-gen consolesthat reveals console owners and potential buyers aren't as tech savvy as you might think.

Check out this little selection of surprising factoids:

- 71 percent of PS3 owners and potential purchasers cited backwards compatibility as an important feature for a console, but only 31 percent of the group actually knew such functionality was built into the PS3.

- Just 50% of consumers are aware of the PSP's various multimedia functions.

- Only 40% of PlayStation 3 owners polled were aware the machine had a Blu-ray player.

- PS3 owners are just as likely to download content as 360 owners, but most people who purchase the Sony console are unaware that you can actually do this with the console.

So are console owners just being stupid? Or are console makers relying on too much assumed knowledge for next-gen console buyers to understand relatively complex new technologies? There is a third, more satisfying answer - the surveyed group was most interested in doing one thing with consoles: playing games.

This is summed up most succinctly by Anita Frazier, an industry analyst, at the NPD Group: "To make headway in this 'next-gen' race, manufacturers still need to be primarily concerned with the quality and entertainment value of the games themselves." The underlying message? Stop harking on about multimedia capabilities and invest more time and money in making top quality games. Especially Sony. And yes, we know that's being a bit short-termist, but look what happened to the UMD movie.

At least, the survey makes us feel slightly better about the fact that up until very recentlywe've been playing our home Xbox 360 through a composite cable on a standard-def TV...

NPD Source: Survey was conducted on 6,260 members of NPD's online consumer panel. These respondents were males and females aged 6 to 44 and qualified owners of at least one next generation system (PS3, PSP, Wii, NDS, Xbox 360). Non-owners were captured in order to further probe on next generation system purchase intent and other areas. The survey was conducted from April 4-10, 2007.

To get a copy of the full report you'll have to buy it from here.

August 9, 2007