Nielsen: Xbox 360 Most Used Console, Wii Most Played

A new report that employs hard metering reveals the Xbox 360 is the most used console overall.

Microsoft's Xbox 360 is the most used console among users aged 13 or older, according to a new survey from media tracker Nielsen. "Most used", meaning everything from playing games to watching movies or catching some tunes to surfing the internet.

The company used metered console tracking (similar to the "people meter" box the company employs to track TV and cable viewing habits) to gauge "electronically measured hours," which revealed users ages 13 and older spent 4.9 "total hours" a week with the Xbox 360, compared with 4.1 hours on the PlayStation 3 and 1.4 hours on the Wii.

Let's break that down. Males and females ages 13 and older spent 6.1 and 2.6 hours a week (respectively) using the Xbox 360, compared with 5.2 (males) and 2.1 (females) hours with Sony's PlayStation 3, or 1.7 (males) and 1.1 (females) hours with Nintendo's Wii.

Any surprises there? Perhaps. It's intriguing to see an apples-to-apples usage comparison for a change. Install base figures have no impact on these figures, since Nielsen's measuring equally sized populations.

That's only half the story, however. The company also breaks down use time on each console by function (though we're back to user-reported data here, as opposed to neutrally metered).

In share of console time among users ages 13 and older, 62% use the Xbox 360 to play video games, a figure that drops to just 49% for PlayStation 3 owners, but which soars to 69% for Wii owners.

How's that break down for online and offline games? 28% use the Xbox 360 to play online games, while just 19% use the PS3 for online gaming, and a mere 12% play online games with the Wii.

By contrast, 27% use the PS3 to watch DVD or Blu-ray movies, compared with 11% on the Xbox 360 (the Wii can't play DVD or Blu-ray movies).

Shift to streaming videos, however, and the Wii suddenly takes the lead with 20% of console use time, compared with just 10% of time spent with the Xbox 360 and 9% with the PS3.

Nielsen says it'll have more data to share in January 2011. I'll be paying attention. These are already some of the most intriguing (and legitimate) comparison metrics I've seen.

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