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Nielsen: Women Dominate PC Gaming, Wii Sees Least User Activity
Nielsen: Women Dominate PC Gaming, Wii Sees Least User Activity
April 7, 2009 | By Leigh Alexander

April 7, 2009 | By Leigh Alexander
More: Console/PC

The largest demographic in the PC gaming audience is females age 25 and older, finds a new report from media analysis group Nielsen. And Microsoft's PC Solitaire is still the most-played game on the platform, with over 17 million players in December 2008.

The firm's comprehensive "State of the Video Gamer" report touted continued and broadening demographics for the industry, and found increasing penetration of new platforms like mobile phones.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the report found that the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 are the platforms of choice for "hardcore" gamers.

But Nielsen also found that users of those platforms actually watch television less, classified as "medium" to "light" watchers as opposed to PS2 and original Xbox users who are "heavy."

The PS3 has the oldest average userbase (specifically, those that use the PS3 primarily). But the PS3 is seeing the same downward trend in actual usage as its last-gen predecessor, the PS2.

Interestingly, Nielsen's report found that user behavior on the Wii is very similar to user behavior on the last-gen GameCube: Owners of both those platforms use them the least, with the fewest average daily play sessions and the lowest percentage of active users.

And according to Nielsen, it's 12-17 year old males in households earning $75,000 or more that are the "most active" gamers.

The full report, which comments that "while the weak economy has had an effect on many forms of entertainment, video games have shown an amazing resilience, with sales of both gaming consoles and games continuing to show healthy growth", is available via a Nielsen weblog post.

UPDATE: Since this report, Nielsen has issued a correction that shows that the Wii is not, in fact, the least-used console and keeps pace with the next-gen consoles.]

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Chris Melby
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Yep, when I was 12 I was earning $75k a year. :s

Well, this doesn't match my own experience, so I think I'll post my own subjective study with skewed results.

Peter Dwyer
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It seems generally accurate. Although I use a PC for everyday. I rarely game on it anymore. Not since games like Monkey Island disappeared.

I have a Wii but, it et's little to no use as it simply doesn't have any appealing games on it and anything that does come out is so far behind it's PS3 or 360 counterpart that it becomes a hollow joke. I genuinely think there should be some kind of health warning on the Wii to tell people they will pretty much be wasting their money if they buy it. Nintendos controller ideas were great but, the lack of power in the Wii makes the execution very poor indeed. I suspect that dispite it's huge hardware sales, it's low software takeup is going to sound it's death knell much like the gamecube.

As for 360 and PS3. I own both of these consoles and the 360 by far get's the most play time. Though games like Drakes fortune and ratchet mean that my PS3 is never considered a true waste of cash.

Alberto Barbosa Cabrera
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I'm just curious if all the women that are pc gamers play something different than solitaire

Maurício Gomes
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I know a few woman that play PC, the massive majority plays solitare or other variations of it (I have a aunt that is master of spider solitary, she beat the crap of anyone that want to do it better or faster than her...), but my sister plays a lot of Ultima Online (ilegally, because here there are no legal Ultima Online... HEY ELETRONIC ARTS STOP BEING SUCH MORONIC AND SELL YOUR GAMES HERE!!!) and I know two girls in the university that kick-ass when playing Counter-Strike and in fact can make many males regret doubting that...

Bob McIntyre
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I am a little surprised that the female number on PC is so high. I guess that MMOs might have something to do with it, but really I'm just guessing. I'd like to know what women play on PC. My guess is that it's not the same as what men play, but again, I have no actual data. Interesting article. As a side note, the Wii being a dust-gatherer isn't a surprise at all, since Nintendo's expanded audience is "non-gamers," so of course the "core" systems get more playtime.