A Nielsen survey has found that the Wii is the least played console not only of this generation, but of the two most recent generations.
Sales may be in a slump thanks to that pesky recession thing I've been hearing about lately, but just because gamers aren't buying games doesn't mean they're not playing them. In fact, a report by Nielsen Games (via IndustryGamer indicates just the opposite - gamers are playing more games this summer than they did last year, with June seeing a 21% year-on-year increase in minutes played.
The official chart, on the other hand, is rather interesting, showing the percentage of use that every console gets. Unsurprisingly, the Xbox 360 is in the lead, followed by the PlayStation 3. What is surprising at first is how far the current market leader - that is, the Nintendo Wii - is behind the pack. Percentage-wise, fewer people spent time with their Wii than they did with the original Xbox, the PS2, or even its own predecessor, the GameCube.
Kind of boggles the mind for a moment, right? On the other hand, think about it - it's a percentage, and by this point practically every gamer's mother has a Wii. A low percentage doesn't necessarily mean a low amount of total minutes played, especially given the massive install base that the Wii enjoys. Take a look at this chart, which breaks it down by gender, and we see that the Wii has many more total minutes played than the GameCube, Xbox, and PS3, while roughly equaling the 360 and PS2.
Nielsen's report indicates that what was once the next generation is now entirely the current generation - the PS3, 360, and Wii accounted for 50% of all minutes played, the last generation consoles (PS2, Xbox, GameCube) made up 31% of the total, and older consoles (SNES, PS1, N64) filled in the remaining 19%.