The choice of which gaming system to buy can be difficult: Wii, Xbox 360 and PS3 all have their pros and cons. But according to recent metered usage data from Nielsen, each console tends to appeal to different demographic groups.
"All three of the consoles have their fans, and sales of consoles and games have been some of the few bright spots in an otherwise bleak retail environment," said Bradley Raczka, Marketing Manager for Nielsen Games. "It will be interesting to watch the continued migration to the current generation consoles in 2009, and see how releases of titles such as Halo Wars, Resident Evil 5, MadWorld, Killzone 2 and Street Fighter IV impact usage trends in the first half of the year."
Usage of Wii by the 18-24 age group, considered the core/hardcore gaming segment, is low for both genders compared to the other two consoles. However, Wii has been successful in broadening the gaming market to a wider demographic audience.
In terms of overall usage, males using the Xbox 360 are playing almost twice as many days per months as females (10.2 vs. 5.4 in December), but on the other two consoles, usage days for males and females are much closer. On average, the least used console is the Wii.
During the fourth quarter, November had higher than average usage days on all three consoles, due largely to the fact that the bulk of game releases occur during October and November in advance of the holidays. In 2008, a number of highly anticipated titles were released, such as Gears of War 2, Wii Fit, Grand Theft Auto IV, Dead Space, Guitar Hero: World Tour, Call of Duty: World at War and Left 4 Dead .
A complete comparison of console usage during the fourth quarter can be viewed in PDF form here.
Nielsen Games' GamePlay Metrics service provides measurement of console activity from the National TV Panel of homes.