Nielsen: 56 per cent of US households own 7th-gen console

Xbox, PlayStation and Wii dominate US living room, 39 per cent also own an iOS device

Global market research firm Nielsen has published figures suggesting that 56 per cent of US households owned an Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 or Wii in 2011.

Of that amount, 65 per cent are found in the living room, with as much as 45 per cent constantly connected to the internet to serve as "entertainment hubs."

Nielsen also noted that the use of consoles for streaming entertainment has increased on all platforms since 2010.

The total console spend is flat versus 2010, but the distribution of that money has changed. The Xbox 360, for example, has increased its share by 10 per cent, while the Wii declined by the same amount. Sales of new and used games and rentals fell by 8 per cent, but digital sales increased by 8 per cent.

However, while gamers aren't spending more money, the rise of smartphones and tablets have caused a 7 per cent increase in the total time spent playing, even as time spent with the Wii, the former market-leader, has plummeted by 22 per cent.

More than half of all gamers regularly play on two or more screens, with children showing a strong affinity for handheld devices.

Almost half of all children aged 6 to 12 own a product from the Nintendo DS range, and 66 per cent of children with a DS, 3DS or PSP also own an iOS device. In total, 39 per cent of all American households own an iOS device.

Nielsen released the information as a series of Tweets. All figures specifically relate to the US gaming market.

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