Nielsen Expands Ratings To The Game Industry
It may have taken longer than anticipated, but Nielsen Media Research has finally decided to provide its usage-tracking ratings for games, according to today's announcement.
As one might expect, the rating system will monitor the actions taken with game consoles, including next-gen systems like the Sony PS3 and Nintendo Wii. The data Nielsen collects will reflect which games are played most frequently, as well as corresponding info regarding the demographics of the gamers. As an added bonus, the system should offer some insight into the TV and Internet habits of those gamers, which may be useful for future studies, surveys, and polls.
The system itself is called GamePlay Metrics, and will be the first project to go public from Nielsen's new Wireless and Interactive Services Division, which just launched today. By providing their acquired statistics, Nielsen said advertisers will be better able to nail down the specific audience they're catering to. In-game advertising has been on the rise (if you hadn't noticed), and the biggest corporations around are taking notice. For instance, Microsoft snagged game ad leader Massive this past spring.
Outside of the obvious benefit to advertisers, Nielsen is marketing GamePlay Metrics to the game industry itself. Developing and publishing video games is an expensive endeavor, and many creators are often facing a dangerous hit-or-miss scenario. With Nielsen's data, some of the smaller game developers and manufacturers would have a better idea as to what projects might - and might not - work.
All the participants in GamePlay Metrics will come from the same 10,000 households used for Nielsen's TV ratings. When anybody in that household turns on a console and loads up a game, the system will record the game's title and the participant's demographic information, without interruption.
10/18/2006 Ben Dutka