Officials from Nielsen Media Research have announced the launch of a new ratings service for video games named GamePlay Metrics. The online service is aimed at providing new metrics for the buying and selling of advertising in games, while also tracking the activities of gamers across other media platforms.
GamePlay Metrics is planned as the first of many offerings from the newly created Nielsen Wireless and Interactive Services division. The new measurement service will provide advertisers, agencies, hardware manufacturers and game developers with quantitative demographic data for negotiating the buying and selling of in-game and around-game advertising.
The service will also aim to provide advertisers with comprehensive analysis on how video game play affects or complements the use of other electronic media, for example television programs watched when not playing games.
The new service builds on Nielsen's Anytime Anywhere Media Measurement (A2/M2) initiative - which provides integrated ratings for video consumption across multiple media platforms - by harvesting information from existing Nielsen samples. Nielsen's national television sample of more than 10,000 households currently collects information on video game use through existing People Meter technology.
Nielsen GamePlay Metrics will use an unspecified "patented approach" to harvest this existing information from current and next-generation video game consoles within sample households. The new service will passively record the titles of games while capturing key demographic detail about players. Nielsen will also begin providing video game ratings data in mid-2007. Subscribing clients will receive, on a weekly basis, ratings charts and rankings which show the most-played video games.
Although a household name in the U.S. through its television ratings, Nielsen has previously had relatively little involvement in video game metrics, beyond a yearly survey of games players
. However, the company did announce a partnership with Activision
in 2004 to measure video games usage, which worked as a prototype for the new GamePlay Metrics service.