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Brief: Video Games Becoming A Social Event

Knocking aside the long-held notion that video gamers are solitary creatures, a new study shows they spend hours playing socially every week.
The social elements of videogames are becoming an increasingly important part of the experience, a research firm said Thursday.

While gaming has traditionally been thought of as a solitary activity, a study conducted by Nielsen Entertainment found that gamers spend as much as five hours a week playing socially, with teenagers spending about 7 hours per week.

Among the 117 million active gamers in the United States, 56 percent play games online, and 64 percent of those players are women, the study found. In addition, teenagers continue to comprise the largest percentage of gamers at 40 percent, but nearly 8 percent, or 15 million, are 45 years or older. Men still outnumber women in the overall number of players two-to-one.

Among console makers, Sony continues to dominate with the PlayStation, which accounts for 59 percent of the market. Microsoft's Xbox comprises 33 percent, followed by Nintendo's GameCube at 30 percent. Active gamers generally average about 14 hours a week on their consoles, and 17 hours a week on portable devices. About a quarter of gamers also play on their mobile phones.

The study was based on a July survey of 2,200 gamers who were 13 years old or over, owned a gaming device and played games at least one hour per week.

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