New data from research firm Nielsen reveals that around 56 percent of American households owned an Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 or a Wii in 2011. They also reported that around 45 percent of those consoles were "constantly connected" to the internet to serve as entertainment hubs in living rooms. This is probably due to their next figure – an increase in streaming content over consoles since 2010. That can probably be laid at the feet of services like Netflix, Hulu, and Crackle – though the research firm did not name those specific services in its data.
The total amount spent on consoles, however, was even with spending in 2010, because the where that money was spent shifted; the Xbox 360 increased its share by 10 percent, while the Wii declined by 10 percent. Sales of new and used games and rentals fell by 8 percent, but digital sales increased by 8 percent.
While console owners did not spend more money on consoles and software in 2011, the rise of smartphones and tablets caused a 7 percent increase in the total time spent playing, even as time spent with the front running Wii declined by 22 percent.
Nielsen said that more than half of all gamers regularly played on two or more screens, with children showing a preference for handheld devices. Around half of all children aged 6 – 12 years old own a Nintendo DS product, and 66 percent of children who owned a DS, 3DS or PSP also owned or had access to an iOS device. In total, 39 percent of all American households own an iOS device.
Nielsen released all of this information as a series of tweets via its Twitter account..