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Nielsen Corrects Survey Error, Shows Wii With A Bigger Share Of Playtime
Nielsen Corrects Survey Error, Shows Wii With A Bigger Share Of Playtime Exclusive
April 9, 2009 | By Leigh Alexander

Analysis firm Nielsen has corrected a mislabeled graph in its recent survey that led to widespread media reports that the Wii receives a smaller share of the total console userbase's playtime than the Xbox 360.

Now corrected, it's clear the Wii actually receives a larger share, behind only the PlayStation 2. The PlayStation 3's console play time market share was also understated in the original graph.

Nielsen told online news site FastCompany that the correct percentages in terms of user minutes, factoring in the console install base, are actually as follows: PlayStation 2: 23.7%, Wii: 20.7%, Xbox 360: 18.2%, PlayStation 3: 9.0%, Xbox: 7.9%, and GameCube: 3.3%.

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

On a per-user basis, however, as previously reported, Nielsen did find that Wii's users tend to use their console less often and for fewer total minutes than users of Xbox 360 or Playstation 3.

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.

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Aaron Harris
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This just in: "PlayStation 3 least-used next-gen console"!

Huh? How do you mess something like that up?

Richard Cody
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Well, if you mislabel a graph by reversing its meaning that's the beginning of an error. Someone reads that report and goes, "Look, this is unpopular." every time and then in comes the consumers, very mad, demanding that their play hours be accounted for. Then the graph gets reposted and mistakes turn into real, actual bliss.

It should be hard to mess up something that goes out to so many sources, I don't know what's up.

Bob McIntyre
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Christian, I think that this says that each individual Wii gets very little use, but because there's a huge install base, it adds up to a lot of total hours. This is pretty normal.

Simon Carless
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Christian, we had to think about this one carefully too, but this particular graph is about total usage across the entire survey - so it's just 'share of total minutes played', it doesn't necessarily speak directly to per-user stats.

Simon Carless
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Christian: I think the PS3 and GameCube stats got inverted by Nielsen as _well_ as the Wii problems. We'll add that to the story, actually, to make it clear.

Tom Newman
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Smells bad. I don't know how much stock I'd put in any of these charts.

Peter Dwyer
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I find this unlikely to say the least. I have a Wii and know a lot of others with them and it's definitely not the most played console around these parts. Mainly because there isn't anything to play on it. Are they sure that it's not just Wii Fit creating those numbers. Even then I doubt anyone is playing 4+ hours a day of Wii fit games.

I suspect that someone looking at the figures simply didn't believe that there could be that many Wii consoles out there and yet such a low playtime and said "We must have the numbers back to front". Expect it to change back next week sometime.

Roberto Alfonso
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Peter, Tom, do you watch American Idol? Because according to Nielsen, it is the #1 TV program in USA. I guess you watch 24 and know a lot of others that watch it too, yet it has never been one of the top 10 TV programs.

What a minority likes is not usually what the mainstream like.