Report: Half of gamers waiting for PlayStation 3

Nielsen Entertainment study says nearly 50 percent of "active gamers" won't get a next-generation console until they have a choice.


Unless you just emerged from a seven-month trek across the untamed jungles of western Botswana, you probably know that today, the Xbox 360 went on sale across North America. But although sellouts are already being reported and long lines are de rigueur, a leading entertainment industry group is saying that interest in the console isn't at the frenzied levels Microsoft is portraying it as.

Nielsen Entertainment, the media-research firm most famous for its television ratings, today released a survey of 2,000 "active gamers," or those who own a console and play games for at least one hour per week. Appropriately titled "Benchmarking the Active Gamer," the study said that around half of active gamers were taking a "wait and see" approach to the next-gen console contest.

"Many active gamers appear to be in a holding pattern before making a purchase decision on next-generation consoles," read a summary of the report released by Nielsen. "Nearly 50 percent of active gamers stated they will likely wait until both the Xbox 360 and the PS3 are released before making a final decision."

Though purchasers of multiple platforms may object to the study's either/or line of questioning, they will likely find some of its other findings interesting. For instance, Nielsen found that owners of a current-generation Xbox were more likely to buy an Xbox 360 than PlayStation 2 owners were to buy a PS3.

However, for the most part, "Benchmarking the Active Gamer" had no major revelations about the gamer mindset. It said active gamers spend 25 percent of their leisure time gaming, averaging around 12 hours per week gaming. It also came to the not-so-shocking conclusion that the vast majority--76 percent--of online console gamers, massively multiplayer gamers, and online gambling gamers are male and that males aged 25 to 34 spend the most money on games.

In terms of the games themselves, Nielsen found that "traditional sports" is the number-one game genre, followed by first-person shooters and role-playing games.

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