A new report from Nielsen's recently launched Nielsen Wireless and Interactive Services division has found that during the fourth quarter of 2006 video game consoles were found in 45.7 million households, accounting for 41.1 percent of all television-bearing homes in the U.S.
This figure has continued to climb over the past two years, from 43 million in 2005 and 38.6 million the year prior. This increase is particularly significant given that the total number of households with televisions has risen just 1.6 percent over the same period. According to Nielsen, by the end of 2006, nearly 148.4 million people had access to at least one video game console system in their home, a figure that represents more than half (52.4 percent) of the total U.S. television population.
The report, titled "The State of the Console," also found that internet connectivity has become increasingly popular among game console owners, with the number of households reporting consoles connected online has grown to more than 4.4 million. In addition, Nielsen adds that this figure does not yet take into account owners of the PlayStation 3 or Wii.
Nielsen also found that two thirds of all men between the ages of 18-34 in television households also have access to a video game console, while this number climbed to an impressive 80 percent when referring to teenage boys between 12 and 17 years old. Also interesting is that according to the report, the top 20 percent of game console users for the fourth quarter accounted for 74.4 percent of all console usage, with these users averaging 5 hours and 45 minutes of play each day.
The report further revealed that between September 18 and December 31, 2006, 93.8 million persons used a video game console at least once for a minute or more. Moreover, it added that at any given minute of the day, about 1.6 million people in the U.S. are using a video game console.
"The video game console has become a major player in the battle for the living room," said Jeff Herrmann, Vice President of Nielsen Wireless and Interactive Services. "In households across the country, consoles are successfully competing for consumers' time and attention; not simply as gaming platforms, but as multimedia hubs that also can deliver high quality digital movies and IPTV."