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Nielsen To Begin Tracking Game Play 46

Gamespot is reporting that Nielsen is now going to be tracking game play statistics. The same 10,000 sample households that dictate what succeeds and fails in the television world will also have their game playing habits recorded by the company. From the article: "The rating system will monitor the goings-on of game consoles, including next-generation models such as Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Wii. Data will include which games are played most frequently, along with corresponding information about the demographics of the players. The video-game rating system is also intended to offer insight into what television and Internet trends the players follow. Called GamePlay Metrics, it will be the first project to come out of Nielsen's new Wireless and Interactive Services Division, which itself launched today."
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Nielsen To Begin Tracking Game Play

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  • Just what we need, the least reliable statistics company in the world to start tracking game popularity. The Neilsen corporation: Enemy of good television in the United States.
    • by IcyNeko ( 891749 )
      Yeah, more than one good TV Show was cancelled by this group. Pretty soon, every game released will be "SIMS 90234343: The Sims get Aids in survivor Island".
      • Are you related to the IcyNeko on Gateworld by any chance?
    • At least with Nielson, it's opt in/voluntary. Not like MS's WGA or Sony/BMG rootkit (as in DEFAULT opt in).

      Just don't agree to be in the Neison "solution" when asked.

      Don't blame Neilson for what the mindless public wants. (yes, I have once participated in Neilson, and once declined-both in the 1980's FWIW)

      The only difference now is accepting their spyware on your PC instead of a "diary", something Windows users are already used to. (yeah- mod me flamebait...I repair PC's for a living and most of my work is
      • Don't blame Neilson for what the mindless public wants.
        How about I blame them for their questionable statistics?
        • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

          by rts008 ( 812749 )
          Blame them for what you will, but they only derive their statistics from the journal/diary that the participants submit for their alledged viewing habits. (Maybe the way the survey works has changed since the 80's- if it has, then my post may be off base- don't pay attention to TV anymore, so SORRY-I aplogise.)

          In other words, suit yourself- your mind seems already made up.

          Blame the symptoms, not the desease- good practise! *sarcasm*

          From your post I could deduce several things, most probably in error:
          1. You
          • They choose who to find, they make sure to find the 'perfect' statistic. They also have a 68% non-response rate. The number of people counting in the ratings for any timeslot is barely over a thousand. In addition, the "sweeps" method is designed to be easily 'gamable' by playing with the numbers a bit.

            1. You are a "Survivor" and other so-called reality show fans- no sympathy from me

            Actually, I mostly watch science fiction shows like Stargate and BSG, and not much else. I hate American Idol and all the

            • by rts008 ( 812749 )
              "TV viewers are part of the problem."

              Uhmm.... That was my point.They have dictated what is "good TV", that's why I dropped out.
              What's your point?
          • My parents did the ratings bit a few months ago. They still do the diary. I'm sure it is much the same since the 1980s, but they may have added the page for VCR/DVR recordings since then...

            Actually, it probably is a good idea to stop watching TV. However, I think Slashdot is my new TV. Old habits die hard.

    • Why would game makers care what their ratings are? They don't get their money through viewership, they get their money by selling games. Retail profits are the only thing that matters to them business-wise. And if they wanted to track in-game advertising, they're more than capible of doing it themselves instead of paying Neilsen. see: Battlefield 2142
  • Pretty soon there won't be anything we do that isn't in a database somewhere to be used by someone who wants to sell us something or influence us in some way. The only problem with this as I can see it is that it will result in the same thing the TV ratings did which is to cause the producers of games/tv to shift the focus from producing something good or innovative to focusing on producing things that were popular in the past. I suppose from a marketing standpoint that might be a good thing but I'd rathe
    • Yeah, we don't need game companies building games that have been successful in the past. If that happens we might start getting a hundred different iterations of a popular game from the past... oh wait...
    • by sowth ( 748135 )

      shift the focus from producing something good or innovative to focusing on producing things that were popular in the past

      Umm...how do they not do this now? I have seen very few innovative games recently. Many seem to be remakes of movies, or FPS, or RPGs, and such. Where are these great games? Animal Crossing is the best, most original one I've seen for a long time, and it isn't so spectacular.

    • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )
      I wouldn't worry about this changing anything, the publisher already sees how many copies the game sells and the rest is uninteresting to them. What do they care if people actually play the game after buying it? These ratings are necessary for TV since there are no sales numbers, people get everything in a big package and the money is made from ads with the viewership ratings determining only the ad income. Games with ads either use the sales numbers to tell advertisers how many impressions there are or spy
  • Oh, yeah those stupid folk to use Nielson ranks to judge the rates for TV ads. I'm sorry, but in todays environment, everygame that has a multi-player on-line component could also have a builtin "Nielson rating". I've always disliked the results of the Nielson ratings. Of course, the Nielson folks really couldn't understand that today instead of using only 10K people as a base line, it is possible to use devices like Tivo, PSP, downloadable ads, and any on-line game to track the viewing/playing habits of m
  • by RichMan ( 8097 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @05:55PM (#16492873)
    See subject,

    This is a setup to selling in game advertisements. Once they get a demographic they have a defined audience and can start finding paths and selling spots.

    Enjoy, this game, powerd by fruity-soft-beverage
    • This is quite an insightful concept. It certainly answers my original question "What need does the game industry need to gather 'popular' game information, when they can simply go by 'games sold'?" How much does it cost to get those annoying advertisements out of games? The only justification I can think of is to give the games some kind of realism, like sporting events.
  • by UbuntuDupe ( 970646 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @06:00PM (#16492937) Journal
    As a new company, it's hard to know if we can really trust Nielson to aggregate all the data properly. I don't know if such a big step is justified. A better idea would be to use a tried and true ratings provider like Nielsen or something.
  • Laughable (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Is it just me or is this laugable un-important. It doesn't matter how *long* you play the game (even glossing over the different play lengths of games) so long as you buy it. The same applies to consoles. It really doesn't matter HOW MUCH you play the darn thing it just matters that you are shelling out the money for it. The only *possible* thing Nielson's could really help with is for side interest purposes (demographics) and for in-game advertising. Overall greed is going to win out on the "How much does
  • Wow... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Thad Boyd ( 880932 )
    ...this must be the "how many different ways can people misspell 'Nielsen'?" thread.
  • Sony's PlayStation 3, Nintendo's Wii, xbox360, high end windows systems, high end mac systems, game fees and more?
  • "next-generation models such as Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Wii"?

    Did i wake up in backwards land today? Or did the Nielsen company not get the same memo that every other company apparently received that says when they refer to next-generation consoles in a press release they're supposed to mention only the PS3 and the XBox 360 and pretend that the Wii doesn't even exist?

    • by sowth ( 748135 )

      You don't understand. One of the Nielsen execs had sex with a Wii. With the box shouting "Wii! Wii! Wii!" throughout the entire time, the guy couldn't help but remember its name. In the meeting, he said "I can't remember where, but I heard about some Wii game thing. What's this Wii thing I keep hearing about? We got to do something with it!"

      Since all execs can only remember two things at a time, the Xbox fell out his brain, leaving only the PS3 and Wii. Corporate drones must follow. There you have it.


  • MajorNelson.com already does something like this, although it's just for 360 games that are played while connected to Live!

    http://www.majornelson.com/archive/2006/10/14/Xbox -Live-Activity-for-week-of-10-9.aspx [majornelson.com]

    I wouldn't be surprised if Sony and Nintendo offered something similar once their platforms launch, which makes me wonder what the point of this all is...

    As an earlier poster noted, this is probably aimed more at helping companies produce in-game ads for future titles, rather than really tracki
  • by shdowhawk ( 940841 ) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @10:00AM (#16500787)
    ... Our reports find that the most time spent in game is for World of Warcraft. Apperently this is a popular game. Note: Insert more advertisements on the backs of player clothing and on the rumps of Animals they can ride.
    -- We find that the most Loaded game is sims 2 with the nudity patch. This is loaded 2 or 3 times a time, and usually played for no more than 1 or 2 minutes. Note: Try and figure out this strange gamer phenomenon.
    --The most played game by troubled youths is Grand Theft Auto.
    Final Note:
    Send Jack Thompson a fruitcake for the few millions he gave us to come up with this total bogus and not-proveable report.
  • by thatguywhoiam ( 524290 ) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @12:49PM (#16503509)
    This is something I've wondered about for awhile. So-called next gen (is it this gen yet? are we there yet?) consoles will all have some kind of always-connected status. This has got to have people like Nielsen salivating.

    Your Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii will all sit there like lumps on your network, sending whatever they like back and forth to the mothership (yes, I know you have a linux firewall. Most don't.) Nintendo and MS have even touted this as a feature. It makes me a little nervous. If your X360 decided to start telling MS about not just how much time you're playing games, but what movies, which music you are listening to? It is a 'pseudo media PC' after all. Nintendo will obviously only be able to track gameplaying (does the Wii play DVDs?). X360 and PS3, if they are used to play ripped music, show photos, watch downloaded episodes etc could provide a pretty rich set of stats on your habits.

    You know what the annoying thing about this is - they could have all my stats if they wanted, just not associated with my name. Really I would not care about anonymous collection of media habits. Hell if it keeps a tampon ad out of my copy of DragonFireMasterKiller VIII or whatever, I'm all for it. But the bastards want my name and my habits, and that I have a problem with.

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.