Tag Archives: Nielsen Ratings

Nielsen Says A Lot of Guys Play World of Warcraft

Instance group member Bung dropped the group an IM with a link to an article over at Ars Technica that refers to and sums up a report from Nielsen on The State of The Video Gamer.

Among the insights are:

  • The solitaire games included with Windows are the most played computer games
  • PlayStation2 gaming is finally trending down
  • World of Warcraft has 1,201,848 male players in the United States

That last number seems surprisingly exact.  It reminds me of the old adage about data from the United Nations, the more precise the number, the more likely it is to be based on BS.

Still, if that last number is correct, how does it jibe with the 2.5 million players in North America that has been attributed to the game?  That seems to mean a lot of women and Canadians are taking up the slack.

The Fortitude of Older Games

Last Friday Massively had a post up about the Nielsen ratings for PC video games for January through October of 2008.  The post itself pointed to a Kotaku article that listed out the top ten games for that period with statistical rankings.

They were (sans details):

  1. World of Warcraft
  2. Call of Duty 4
  3. Halo: Combat Evolved
  4. The Sims
  5. The Sims 2
  6. RuneScape
  7. Diablo II
  8. Team Fortress 2
  9. Counter-Strike
  10. Counter-Strike Source

The point of the articles seemed to be to remind us that we play a lot of World of Warcraft.  Massively did note that there was a massive title on the list besides WoW, namely RuneScape, but otherwise the list seemed to reinforce what we all suspected.  As one commentor put it:

How every you not need to read this crap to known that World of Warcraft was the most played game of 2008! base on the sale numbers alone!

You tell ’em!

But for me, the amazing/amusing part of the list was Diablo II.

Eight years after release, and seven years after the last expansion,  it makes it to the list.

Yes, Diablo II got a nostalgia boost this year when Blizzard finally got around to announcing Diablo III, but that alone does not account for the popularity of the title.  After all, if you go look at the X-Fire statistics every month, you will see Diablo II listed under “Top 10 Other.”

But then, a good chunk of this list is older games.  The Sims, Counter-Strike, and Halo are all PC titles over five years old.  Even The Sims 2 is four years old, making it as old as… well… World of Warcraft or the current version of RuneScape.

When it comes down to it, only Call of Duty 4 and Team Fortress 2 are really “new” games, and even they are based off older titles.

What does it mean?

Do new games just suck?  Is Nielsen fundamentally flawed?  Is PC gaming not dead, but just not done with the stuff it already has?