Nielsen Releases June Ratings For PC Games, Consoles
You might not know this, but Nielsen Research, the shadowy organization behind the “Nielsen Families” who love nothing more than to destroy good television shows, also tracks video games. They’ve released the results of their June, 2011 research for most-played PC games and most-used consoles, and the results are as surprising as they are expected.
Predictably, Blizard owns the top two: World of Warcraft remains the top PC game with a 6.304 percent market share and an average of 423 minutes played per week. I interpret this as confirmation that WoW players must be independently wealthy obsessive compulsives. Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos in the 2nd spot.
The ratings also confirm the surprising longevity of PC games (by contrast to consoles). In addition to 2002′s Reign of Chaos, we also find 2001′s Halo: Combat Evolved (#5), 1999′s Unreal Tournament (#7) and 2004′s Half-Life 2 (#9). This demonstrates one obvious advantage of PC gaming – while the tech constantly improves, upgrading your computer or even buying a new one doesn’t render a PC game obsolete, so long as you’re using the right operating system. Imagine still being able to play the console version of Grand Theft Auto III without having to dig out a dusty PS2, or pay for the game again on XBLA.
That annoying fact of life is demonstrated by the ratings for consoles. Rather than ranking specific games, Nielsen has ranked by amount of time spent per-system. Xbox 360, Wii and PS3 rated first, second and third in usage minutes for obvious reasons. But PS2, the original Xbox and the Gamecube came in at third, fourth and fifth. That is to say, people are still playing these systems often enough that it can be measured statistically by comparison to current gen consoles. Imagine if people held on to their late 90s Dell because Halo was only compatible with Windows ME?
Do I hate consoles? Of course not. I own all three current gen systems and still have an old PS2 collecting dust somewhere. But if anything demonstrates the self-evident superiority of personal computer gaming, it’s this.