Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) has today announced that many PS2 gamers now prefer playing online games to watching television during traditional prime-time viewing hours. According to SCEA, the audience for online gaming on the PS2 grew to 2.6 million this month, and most of those players are spending time online at times more commonly associated with prime-time TV. SCEA also revealed that no fewer than 67,708 new gamers registered to play their PS2 games online during the month of February.
SCEA conducted its research into the habits of online gamers in February and determined that the most popular times to play online PS2 games are between 5:00pm and 11:00pm--starting before prime-time TV gets under way and concluding long after the prime-time TV shows have finished. Approximately 65 percent of the online audience during prime-time hours in February was composed of males aged 18 to 34, a group that, according to Nielsen Media Research, is becoming increasingly elusive for TV advertisers.
"When people go looking for their favorite entertainment, some are turning to online gaming with PlayStation 2 instead of tuning into broadcast television," said Andrew House, executive vice president of SCEA. "We believe the compelling content we offer online gamers will continue to drive the growth of our online platform, far outpacing other online gaming destinations and potentially rivaling the popularity of more traditional entertainment mediums like television."
The PS2-exclusive SOCOM II: U.S. Navy SEALs is currently the most popular online console game, with SCEA claiming that with almost a million copies sold to date, nearly 50 percent of SOCOM II players have already experienced the game online. Players currently spend an average of 4.2 hours a day playing the game online, making for a cumulative total of 31.5 million player hours in the first 100 days since the game's launch.
"SOCOM II: U.S. Navy SEALs is the most popular online console game, allowing consumers to interact with a huge community of players," added House. "It is setting the bar for online entertainment."