PlayStation 2 leads initial Nielsen GamePlay ratings

First to track console, PC usage

The Nielsen Co. unveiled GamePlay Metrics on Thursday, the first service of its kind to track usage of video games on consoles and PCs.

Sony's PlayStation 2 accounted for 42% of all the minutes of console usage in June, with Microsoft's Xbox coming in second with 17% of the minutes. Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's GameCube and Wii rounded out the top five.

In total, 68.1 million people used a console in June, with the average gamer playing 7.5 days during the month. PS3 users logged the most time per session with an average of 83 minutes, but they accounted for only 1.5% of the total time.

"World of Warcraft," a massively multiplayer online role-playing game published by Vivendi Universal and developed by Blizzard Entertainment, was played more than four times as much as any other PC game, representing nearly 18% of total minutes played in June. Microsoft Game Studio's "Halo: Combat Evolved" was second with 3.6% of PC gaming minutes. "Halo 2" ranked fourth behind Electronic Arts' "The Sims."

To track console use, GamePlay used Nielsen's people meter TV sample combined with the group's own technology. The survey tracks more than 12,000 households with about 33,000 individuals.

For the PC gaming metric, GamePlay used a weekly online survey of 1,200 gamers, ages 7-54.

In the near future, GamePlay plans to add console video game metrics and a measurement system tracking computer game advertising. The latter initiative will be done in conjunction with Sony Computer Entertainment America in a partnership that was announced this month.

The ultimate goal of GamePlay is to develop measurements that will help advertisers better analyze video game marketing opportunities.

"We believe this will change the discussions surrounding which games get developed for what consoles," said Jeff Herrmann, vp wireless and games at Nielsen, "and how publishers represent their actual audience to advertisers."

The Nielsen Co. is the parent company of The Hollywood Reporter.