According the market tracking firm Nielsen‘s new Nielsen GamePlay Metrics (the company’s new effort to measure and cash in on the burgeoning and increasingly ad-driven video gaming market), Sony’s deprecated PlayStation 2 accounted for some 42 percent of all video game play during June 2007, while PC gamers found themselves enthralled with World of Warcraft, which garnered four times as many players as any other PC game during the month. And—surprise—Nielsen says Wii owners are more likely to pull in more than $100,000 per year.
Nielsen’s GamePlay Metrics collects data using Nielsen’s People Meter TV sample group, covering video game usage across more than 12,000 households and over 33,000 individuals. The system uses a proprietary audio signature library to track tames on PS2s, PS3s, Xbox, Xbox 360, Wii, and GameCube consoles, while PC metrics are obtained via a weekly online survey of 1,200 gamers ranging from 7 to 54 years of age who play at least an hour a week and buy at least one game every six months.
“With Nielsen GamePlay Metrics, we have significantly advanced the understanding of how video game consoles are used and which games are actually being played,” said Jeff Herrmann, VP of Nielsen Games and Nielsen Wireless, in a release. “This is the first glimpse of metered in-home video game player data, providing game publishers, console manufacturers, advertisers and competing entertainment media with the most accurate, objective, and quantifiable metric available. We believe this will change the discussions surrounding which games get developed for what consoles and how publishers represent their actual audience to advertisers.”
According to Nielsen, the original Xbox garnered the most play time after the PS2, with 17 percent of June’s game play. The Xbox 360 got 8 percent, the GameCube 5.8 percent, and the newly-introduced Wii got 4 percent of the month’s total play time. However, perhaps more interestingly, all other systems—the ones Nielsen couldn’t be bothered to measure—accounted for 21.3 percent of the month’s gaming, more than any system save the PS2. It’s important to remember Nielsen is interested in providing data useful to advertisers and game publishers, which isn’t necessarily the same thing as measuring what people are actually playing. Since there’s little or no advertising money in systems like the original PlayStation, Sega, vSmile, and other consoles—and developers don’t publish many (or any) games for them, Nielsen isn’t interested in researching their use.
Nielsen found that World of Warcraft consumed almost 18 percent of PC gaming minutes during June 2007, and nearly 85 percent of all gamers measured reported playing WOW at least once during the reporting period. Microsoft’s Halo: Combat Evolved came in a distant second, with 3.6 percent of the month’s gaming minutes, with The Sims franchise getting 3.3 percent. Halo 2 and RuneScape took up less than 3 percent of the month’s gaming minutes, but were played by more than 1 percent of surveyed PC gamers.