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Video Games Now Cater to the Entire Family

Nielsen//NetRatings announced that more than one third of U.S. adults online, 36.5 percent, own a game console, and 15.9 percent own a portable game console, according to @Plan's Spring 2007 Release.

Not just for kids anymore, game consoles are becoming an integral part of America's home entertainment systems. The majority of console owners, 71 percent, are married, and 66 percent have at least one child in the household. With the advent of video game ratings determined by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), home video games can now cater to the entire family.

"As game consoles have become increasingly sophisticated, families have incorporated them into their centralized home media centers, which include the television, digital recording device, digital music player, and the PC," said Carolyn Creekmore, senior director of media analytics, Nielsen//NetRatings.

"Video game technology will only benefit other media, since what makes a video game fun and exciting brings life to movies and music as well. Companies that can leverage these new technologies across a number of products will have a distinct advantage in the competitive marketplace."

Among retail Web sites, Best Buy's video game site has the highest concentration of game console owners, who comprise 90 percent of the site's audience. Amazon's video game site and Gamestop.com rank a close second and third, with console owners comprising 89 and 88 percent of their unique visitors, respectively.

Among the most popular game console providers, Nintendo has enjoyed the fastest Web traffic growth over the past year with the much-anticipated release of Wii. Unique visitors to Nintendo.com increased 91 percent, from 856,000 in February 2006 to 1.6 million in February 2007.

Xbox.com also saw significant year-over-year growth in February, increasing 47 percent from a unique audience of 827,000 to 1.2 million. Traffic to Playstation.com dropped 8 percent in the same period, from 1.1 million to 1.0 million unique visitors.

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