Nielsen: Wii households more likely to be upscale

TV data-tracking company launches gaming service; findings show affluence among consumers of Nintendo's latest system, 42 percent of console gaming in June was on the PlayStation 2.

While Nintendo's Wii might be the least expensive system in the latest generation of consoles, it's actually more likely to turn up in the homes of the affluent. That's among the findings the Nielsen Company revealed today as it launched GamePlay Metrics, its gaming industry data-tracking service.

Borrowing the infrastructure of Nielsen's well-established TV-monitoring service, GamePlay Metrics combines data from more than 12,000 households (roughly 33,000 people) to report on monthly usage of the major gaming consoles and PC games. The company says GamePlay Metrics can show "who is playing games, on which systems, at what times, and, when integrated with other Nielsen data, illustrates which other media platforms are also engaging gamers and which consumer goods they're likely to buy."

The company is using the data it collects to track a variety of trends. For instance, Nielsen found that Wii households tend to be "upscale," or more likely to boast an annual income of more than $100,000. Nielsen can also examine seasonal gaming patterns; the company found that the Wii's peak usage hour in April was 5 p.m., but since summer vacation started for schools, the system now tends to be used most around 8 p.m.

For the month of June, Nielsen says the PlayStation 2 accounted for 42.3 percent of play time on consoles, trouncing all other systems. The original Xbox was the next most frequently played system, representing 17 percent of the gamers' total play time for the month, followed by the Xbox 360 (8 percent), the GameCube (5.8 percent), the Wii (4 percent), and the PlayStation 3 (1.5 percent). The remaining play time--just over 21 percent of the whole--was divided between all other console systems.

The company is also tracking the number of daily play sessions each console gets, as well as the average length of those sittings. The Xbox 360 had the highest number of sessions on days when the system was played at all, with 2.21, while the PS3 had the fewest of the major consoles, with 1.88 sessions per day. However, those PS3 play sessions tended to be longer than any other system's, clocking in at 83 minutes a pop. The PS2 and original Xbox shared the next longest playtimes, with an average of 62 minutes per sitting, while the GameCube offered the briefest diversions at 55 minutes a session.

Nielsen is also tracking PC games, and its data has World of Warcraft as the most-played PC game in June, with players clocking in an average of more than 17 hours of play per week. All told, World of Warcraft accounted for nearly 18 percent of all PC gaming minutes in the month of June, according to the company's data. The next most frequently played game was Halo: Combat Evolved, which accounted for more than 3.6 percent of PC play time, with players spending an average of eight and a half hours on it each week. The Sims franchise was third, accounting for 3.3 percent of total PC gaming time for the month, with the average player spending less than four hours per week on the game.

"This is the first glimpse of metered in-home video game player data, providing game publishers, console manufactures, advertisers and competing entertainment media with the most accurate, objective, and quantifiable metric available," said Nielsen Games and Nielsen Wireless vice president Jeff Herrmann in a statement. "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, "GamePlay Metrics uses console data collected from the Nielsen's People Meter TV sample combined with Nielsen GamePlay Metrics' proprietary audio signature library that matches the unique audio signature of every game tracked on the six most widely available video game consoles." PC data is pulled from a game-tracking survey of 1,200 gamers the company has been operating for more than two years.

In the near future, Nielsen hopes to include rankings of specific console games and metering of PC titles. Ultimately, the company also wants to create a tracking method for dynamic and static in-game ads on PCs and consoles. It's working on that endeavor in collaboration with Sony Computer Entertainment America.

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Discussion

264 comments
KagimusMaximus
KagimusMaximus

Does anyone else find it weird that they're monitoring this THAT closely?? I mean, playtime, which system and game you're playing, at what time you're playing it, what channels you watch. Jeez, I'd never feel the same about ordering the Playboy channel again after reading this. Big Brother is lurking, but getting your permission to do it!!

Myugenjin
Myugenjin

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OMGWTFBBQONE
OMGWTFBBQONE

*******PLEASE READ****** I'm a Nielsen field technician and wanted to give everyone an idea on how these numbers were compiled (can't give away exactly too many details, but I can give you a better idea than Joe Blow internet poster). This information was pulled from all of the 25,000 sample households that we maintain across the USA. Any time we (myself or any of the other roughly ~1,000 trained Nielsen reps across the country) go into a house we hook up monitoring equipment at each TV viewing site that monitors what channel the home is watching, or if they are playing a game, watching a DVD, etc. The current generation of technology is QUITE accurate, and has been updated in recent years to accomodate new TV technologies, and to provide more accurate information (such as this). Anyway, at each TV viewing site, if there is a console hooked up, we actually have to specify WHICH console it is. Believe me, myself and all of our coworkers are 1) Type A personalities, so we're getting this stuff right, and 2) Most of us are serious gamers in our free time, so we want to make sure personally that we are doing our jobs right on this end (I'm a Wii60 owner, another coworker is a PS3/360/Wii/PS2 owner, 2 others just have 360's, and 1 other just has a Wii). So, 4 of my 5 other teammates are gamers. Some of you may have participated in the mailings where you write down what you do and Nielsen sends you a dollar. This electronic sample is MUCH more accurate, and IT is what is used for data like this to be pulled. Homes that are in our sample are 100% matched up to the census data to make sure that we have the right percentage of race, household size, income range, etc. to accurately portray America. Some days I work in an area where I literally could be robbed by a crackhead in the morning, and that afternoon I might be in a multi-million dollar lake house. Hope this helped you guys realize these numbers are the real deal. There are some very bright educated techies out here in the field for Nielsen, and we are a lot different than your local cable or satellite guy. I've got 2 degrees and could go take a higher paying desk job somewhere, but I love my job and love the technical side of it. Hope this helped, and hope it wasn't too late to the discussion.

jACkaTacK1107
jACkaTacK1107

omg BradBurns...think about what you just said. only RICH people are gonna buy wiis??? so i guess all the people living in the ghetto making 100 bucks a week are gonna buy the PS3's huh??

tigerfan1993
tigerfan1993

PS2 wins! Wait... we're in the next generation. I wonder if it is possible that the PS2 will beat out all 3 current gen systems. That would be awesome.

merch
merch

damn 100k **** my household only makes about 65k and we are still holding up hmm weird also the wii is my primary system.

BradBurns
BradBurns

Only rich people are stupid enough to buy a Wii as their primary gaming system. And as for Rob3 Nelson, Sony's PS2 is last-gen and it's giving the Wii a royal beatdown worldwide!

reactionsok
reactionsok

i have to say an annual income of 100K isn't much these days. Unfortunate really... the new $100k is really $200k - that's higher class in my book. Look - if me and another friend of mine put our incomes together we'd be well over 100K but still not living any high class life. We'd probably still be driving our 40K beemers - no ballah porcshe or S-class benz 550's :(, probably cuz its California- have a house with not a lot of yard :( , oh this is depressing - i need to win the lotto !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I give commend my parents for doing so much with so little. Lets just take the time and enjoy our games when we have free time.

Titanfan2083
Titanfan2083

bigstokes, gamecube may have been a loss but the Wii is exactly what nintendo needed, a system to bring them back to the top and put their name back out there. As for microsoft, they were definately out there at the right time because the XboX360 sales have been rather good, and i know of a lot of people that owned the first two playstations and decided to get an XboX360 and support microsoft this time around.

boobush
boobush

The Xbox360 can drop its price to the same as a Wii. But it's about choices, not prices, exept for the PS3.

Mastertikiman
Mastertikiman

Since Wii's are in such high demand and are still understocked nearly everywhere, it only makes sense that the wealthy make up a disproportionate percent of Wii owners. Having more money, the rich naturally have an easier time getting a hold of mostly unavailable products, whether it's through ebay or with anyone willing to negotiate a price.

osxgp
osxgp

I own all three systems and am far from upscale. These ratings only go by what is reported. I seriously doubt that they are that accurate, but I imagine close. As far as upscale families go, the Wii is the trend right now. I imagine if your parents are well off and you ask for a Wii because everyone else has one, chances are you would get it.

bigstokes
bigstokes

The ps2 numbers show that people are still very happy with the console sometimes I wonder if the next-gen systems came out to early. Sony would be stupid not to milk the ps2 its still selling about 180 thousand systems a month if sales were that high for gamecube or xbox those companies would have done the same thing and the people that laugh about it dont know anything about running a company its about profit why in the hell would you stop supporting something that is making you tons of cash. Nintendo and MS stop supporting the last gen because they were not making any money.

rokkuman09
rokkuman09

I agree with PixyMisao with the comment he/she (sorry hard to tell just from a screename) made.

i_love_my_ds
i_love_my_ds

42% for PS2? the best next-gen console is the 360, and its only at 8%...damn

PixyMisao
PixyMisao

Am I the only one who think's that Neilsen ratings are archaic and inapplicable to how people really watch tv in the new millenium? I can't be the only one.

Rockman_00X
Rockman_00X

The reason lower income people would purchase a PS3 or 360 is for status among their class. I grew up in a lower middle class neighborhood and I recall whoever had the most expensive toy was the cool kid and you wanted to be their friend. Like buying a Ferrari, it's fast, looks sexy and you might have a girl every night of the week, but it doesn't fit groceries well, gets horrible mileage and even just a scratch will send the owner off the deep end.

carrierj1
carrierj1

That's funny. XBOX 360 and PS3 owners have been proven to be ghetto. LOL.

rokkuman09
rokkuman09

Odd, considering it is the least expensive console currently on the market. You would think high class people would own a ridiculous gaming PC, a PS3, 360, and a Wii lol..

pencilpusher69
pencilpusher69

IMAHAPYHIPPO "There's an entire company dedicated to this? Do they realize how unimportant their lives are? This was the most irrelevant information I've ever been given, and I'm upset I wasted brain space for this." Neilson have been around longer than your parents, most likely. Any time you hear what kind of ratings share a television show recieved, that info comes from them.

reactionsok
reactionsok

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funky_muzic
funky_muzic

Granted, the PS2 is a great system, but the reason it's on top is because the installed base is huge!

BradBurns
BradBurns

Some F@G at GameSpot who loves Nintendo too much deleted my posts because they didn't favor Nintendo.....my goodness....the sad lengths these Nintendo fanboys are willing to go through never cease to amaze me...

sieg6529
sieg6529

Don't be too confused by the PS2's sales. I know a guy at an electronics dealer and he says most people are buying new PS2s because their old ones are finally dying.

Kcube
Kcube

Does the good news for Ninty ever end? Here is hoping it doesnt Kudos to Nintendo

dyne2198
dyne2198

At least articles like this are good for a laugh. OK, moving on....

rob3nelson
rob3nelson

Lol. Son'y milking its last generation console for all it's worth!

taddia
taddia

Personally, im a lil surprised about how Ps2 is moving: it's impressive how a 5++ years old system is still active and offers tons of playtime to spend, compared to the all new nextgen consoles, which have been blown away by the old sony installment. This is the proof that r third parties that decretes the success of a console, more of the time. Reguarding wow... Cmon... Your statistics are all wrong: i know ppl spending like the entire week 24/7 playin... you r totally wrong about this, Nielsen. U should improve ya way to work.

delcidanddarth
delcidanddarth

There's a reason households with a Wii are more affluent... those houses didn't blow all their cash on a ps3 and a 360.

carrierj1
carrierj1

Ahh, the 80's. What a wonderful decade of decadence. Playing Metroid while eating caviar and crackers out of a bowl on the back of a human table. Enjoying the boing, boing of Mario's jump punch while reminiscing the humorous tears of the homeless outside of the New York brownstone. Oh, what a wonderful time.

LuminosityBlaze
LuminosityBlaze

I guess us people with PS3s are just poor bastards aren't wii? What does it mean if you have a Wii and PS3? There are 3-4 users in my household, the PS3 is played much more often and for longer than the Wii. But after getting tired of playing F.E.A.R. online over and over the Wii is much more relaxing and fun for the old favorites, but not too many of the actual disc games. I just think that the older rich people like the Wii because its Nintendo and they are having a flashback to their wild drug days of the 80's and fondly remember playing Mario and Zelda under the influence of who's knows what (as were the makers of these strange games...) ; ' )

ShinAkuma777
ShinAkuma777

uh yeh who cares if rich folk play with there wiis? and if they're rich why dont they get something better?

tomadonxl
tomadonxl

A 100 years from now were still gonna be playing PS2s even after XBOX90 60, Omega Nintendo Sigma and HyperPS70.

carrierj1
carrierj1

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delcidanddarth
delcidanddarth

@leapfrog91 Statistics is good for describing generalities... but very poor at describing specific traits. To ACCURATELY describe the population requires a sample size large enough to capture all of the predicted sub-groups. If I take your example and choose 50 people at random from a large group, there better be less than 50 sub-groups based on whatever metric is being used to separate them. Though this doesn't pertain to the gaming console side of Nielsen's so much (unless they branch into which games are being played, as they did with PC games), I think it is potentially a huge problem with TV. A hundred channels means an average of 250 households watching per channel. Of course, this isn't true, so what do you do about the less watched ones? If 2 households are watching the WB, is this a large enough sample to say that twice as many people in this country are watching the WB vs. the 1 household that is watching the Oxygen network? Which is why google advertising is generally more accurate because they are measuring everyone's websearches, not 25,000 household websurfing habits. It is an old system that works on small numbers of subgroups (like back when there were only a handful of major networks).

HAMMER261266
HAMMER261266

The 360 would've scored higher than 8 percent if so many of them weren't broken and in the shop...LOL.

gatsbythepig
gatsbythepig

I own all three consoles and I am not rich, I am wealthy.

mhder
mhder

Apparently we can't get along... But fans/people have become like the media,everything gets turned into a spin: If the media says the Wii is doing well or is going to do well etc - then we have people who dismiss it and say " the media/analysts knows nothing about gaming, they never cared before and now they tell us what we like." Now we have a report about the Wii being least played is unveiled, then apparently they (I assume the Sony/MS fans) are 100% behind it. As is the nature of taking whatever info most suits your argument. Whether you like it or not, agree or disagree, you can't completely dismiss these reports. I would like to know the demographics though - I assume adults have less time to play games compared to children, so what we might be seeing here is that the Wii is in households with more adults and the 360/PS2 might actually be catering to the very demographic their fans say it's not meant for: the kiddies. (Now how about that for a spin?)

Mark_HD
Mark_HD

I own a Wii and i'm poor u_u, well... not really xD

Darm0k
Darm0k

This isnt a fanboy war, I own all 3 systems. My point was that rich idiots who are not gamers are going to buy a Wii just because its being portrayed as the "cool" console by the media.

teknicz
teknicz

Can't we all just get along? Not every thread has to turn into a fanboy war, or have long discussions of the validity of the story. Just relax, people. If you don't like the story, just move along.

unbreakable4534
unbreakable4534

@Darm0k - Or... everyone just wants a Wii cause their fun, lol.

Darm0k
Darm0k

Rich idiots are more likely to want whats cool than want whats the best. Wii is what hip cool people use, therefore people with money want to have one too

leapfrog91
leapfrog91

slick_gio: You definitely make some good points. However, we have no idea what the participation rate is. "The cons on the other hand are what make the study flawed is that the response rate would be low (how many differant kinds of people refuse to do it) and hence the quality of the response is not indicative of the whole (just the type of poeple who would respond and take part in this)." I'm pretty sure Nielsen offers monetary compensation for its participants, so it seems unlikely that the resonse rate is low at all. Who doesn't want (relatively) free money? :P

unbreakable4534
unbreakable4534

"Leick3 The PS2 is doing good but thats not helping sony at all. It keeps people from buying their new console because everyone realizes that a 130$ console that has tons of good games is better than a 600$ console with only a couple ok games. Sony is just hurting themselves" It's good that they support their systems so long. This is from gamedailybiz "Sales at the game division were actually up 60.5 percent to almost $1.6 billion. Sony said overall hardware sales were up thanks to contributions from the PS3 and increased unit sales of the PS2 and PSP. Sony sold through 710K PS3 units worldwide during the first quarter, as well as 2.14 million units of the PSP and 2.70 million units of the PS2. Overall software sales were also up thanks to the PS3 and further contributions from PS2 game sales. 4.7 million units of PS3 software were sold, along with 31.1 million units of PS2 software and 9.9 million units of PS2 software. "

Gforcefan
Gforcefan

dukerav, in the major cities in this country, there huge numbers of "households" making over $100,000. This is not the same as individual income. Usually this takes into account at lease two salaries. What I find funny is that this amount of money is considered "affluent. " Here in New York, making $100,000 is barely enough to buy an apartment, nevermind a house.

xboxlover175
xboxlover175

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slick_gio
slick_gio

Trueknight64 "Anyone who tries to claim that this type of research is a complete waste of time and useless obviously doesn't understand research very well (or is making a poorly thought out statement). While your list of obvious disadvantages of the survey method are accurate, you fail to acknowledge the obvious advantages. In particular, the most obvious advantage is that it reaches a ery large number of people with ease. Higher sample gives your results a higher chance of being accurate (for the population reached of course). And in this case, I believe that we are looking at a sort of exception to some of the general rules you mentioned about survey studies. I am willing to bet that a sample wil be more representative if you are sending out surveys about something your population enjoys doing. I normally wouldn't do surveys from the mail, but I probably would do one if it was related to video games simply because I enjoy them a great deal. Nothing personal, but simply put, your argument is flawed because it doesn't look at the advantages of this type of research. Researchers are aware of the obvious disadvantages of the survey method, but there are still some good reasons they use them. And quite frankly, its the only way to make research-based conclusions about a population as large as everyone is the US who plays video games." I am more aware of the advantages and disadvantages of the various sampling methods than you know. First of all, I am not sure of the specific sampling methods used by Nielsen, but given the nature of the study itself I would say they used a nonprobability sample since they used their judgement to select certain people from certain groups (to meet a quota) than a probability sample where every person in the population has a non-zero chance of being selected. We know that the people selected were all required to have some kind of gaming device in the household. Just going from the anecdotal data here we know that a good amount of people would not be willing to participate in the study and so you are left with a disproportionate amount of people who have the same mindset, and hence would have tendencies that are not in proportion to the whole gaming community. Seeing how the study is more or less a survey in that respondents need to agree to participate in much the same way as one would agree to participate in a mail, phone, or online survey, we would look at the advantage and limitations of these. Obviously the pros would be the speed, cost, and convenience with which to set up the study. The cons on the other hand are what make the study flawed is that the response rate would be low (how many differant kinds of people refuse to do it) and hence the quality of the response is not indicative of the whole (just the type of poeple who would respond and take part in this). There is a reason why Nielson's system has recently been criticized for their inability to accurately account for the differant ways in which people watch TV. They did recently overhaul their system in light of this I believe.