The gaming console industry is gaining traction in the online movie and TV market with the entrance of two new competitors. Earlier this week, Microsoft announced that XBox 360 users can now rent and buy movies and TV shows online through a partnership established with Netflix. Microsoft will join the arena in close timing with Sony’s announcement to enable similar capabilities for Playstation 3 and PSP. This is a step into direct competition with AppleTV and Vudu, in addition to the set-top based VOD services currently being offered, like what you would receive from Cisco or Comcast. Check out this video produced by CNet, “How to watch Netflix movies on your Xbox 360.” The gaming industry’s willingness to adapt to the rising trends of the consumer, makes me confident that a true integration of social networking and video may soon be enabled via gaming consoles. For example, Marc Whitten, General Manager of XBox Live, writes about new features of the XBox 360 in a direct letter to members, “We added new features like background downloading, 1080p support, movies and TV shows, video chat, a Marketplace blade and instant messaging.” You can even blog via XBox 360! The familiarity and loyalty to gaming platforms may result in users quickly adapting to renting and buying movies online. Furthermore, movies that feature a synonymous game (Iron Man, HellBoy, Harry Potter) will most assuredly be able to leverage this feature to increase rental volume and online visibility. This level of redundancy is a definite industry nuance that bridges an existing gap between media platforms of similar themes by connecting two of the most profitable platforms, video games and motion pictures. Integrate social networking into the mix, and you are well on your way to a Visual Networking ecosystem.