There was an interesting article titled, "Is Console Gaming Over?" in the online version of BusinessWeek today. David Ferrigno, CEO of DISCover and the author of the article, makes the case that PCs will probably replace gaming consoles in the living room.
David mentions that when he worked in the console industry (for 14 years), the analysts predicted the combination of the PC and the Internet would wipe out console gaming. But the console gaming companies went on to create a multi-billion dollar industry. So, the analysts were wrong, the PC did not replace gaming consoles in the living room (except for HTPC enthusiasts like myself).
Now David believes this will change because the price difference between a gaming console and an entertainment/gaming capable PC has shrunk. The PC used to cost 10 times more than the gaming consoles and now since the price of PCs have steadily come down, the PC is only about twice as expensive. However, since the PC can also be used to play, organize and store massive amounts of games and other media including photos, movies and music, you get much more value.
Other factors like portability (with laptops) and performance are better with PCs. And now, new ease-of use features coming to PCs will make them much more appealing for use in the living room. David is also very optimistic about the potential benefits of Microsoft's Vista and the support for advanced technology like DirectX 10 and multi-core processors. Digital distribution (I assume he's referring to the ability to just download a gaming title from an Internet store) will also contribute to the availability and convenience of obtaining a wide variety of games for your PC.
David concludes by basically saying that 'the combination of cost, portability, performance and ease-of use will make the PC fun and easy to use for all forms of media and living room entertainment.'
I hope he's right because it looks like their target market is very similar to ours, except they're going after the gamers and we're targeting the audio enthusiasts.