Nearly 80% of PS3 owners have connected their PS3 online, which eclipses the same statistic for Xbox 360 and Wii, according to a new survey from analyst firm The Diffusion Group. The current generation of video game consoles marks the first generation where online connectivity is an essential component. For the first time, all major players sport native WiFi connection capabilities and downloadable content is highly prevalent.
The Wii has the least focus on this aspect, however, with a cumbersome process for playing games online and limited storage capacity for digital downloads. According to the Diffusion Group's survey of more than 2,000 broadband-using console owners, 54% of Wii owners have taken their Wii online. The other two systems have much more connected users, with 73% of Xbox 360 owners taking their system online and the PS3 topping the list at 78% connected owners. Both the Xbox 360 and PS3 have default options that connect users online as soon as they log into their local user account on the system. However, millions of Xbox 360 owners that cannot connect to a direct Ethernet cable are out of luck because their system does not have built-in WiFi support. Microsoft's proprietary WiFi adapter used to go for a ridiculous $100 and is still overpriced at $70. The PS3 is the only system that, from day one, made the online connection process simple and offered value for setting up a connection. Online connectivity continues to strengthen in the video game market as independent developers finally make their way into console gaming through digital distribution, and downloadable content becomes a requisite to major retail games.