Xbox 360 is most-used game console, Nielsen says

Nielsen ranks the top three most-used consoles, and PlayStation 3 is nowhere to be found. Meanwhile, female gamers are on the rise.

Don Reisinger
Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

Nintendo Wii
The Wii is not the most-used console, but it has attracted female gamers. Nintendo

As the game console wars rage on, new findings from Nielsen may give Xbox 360 fans a little more fodder for their bragging rights.

According to the market researcher, Microsoft's Xbox 360 is the most-used console when measured by its share of total usage minutes, capturing 23.1 percent of gaming time. It is followed by the PlayStation 2 with 20.4 percent of usage time and the Nintendo Wii with 19 percent. Surprisingly, the PlayStation 3 didn't make the list top-three list.

But Nielsen didn't stop there. The company said that 54 percent of American homes own a game console or handheld system. And so far, 41 percent of homes have at least one current-gen console.

Perhaps one of Nielsen's most important findings relates to gamers themselves. The research firm found that active female gamers (those who play at least one hour per week) represent 45 percent of the entire gamer market.

The rise in the number of female gamers was buoyed by both the Nintendo Wii and Sony's PlayStation Portable, which have high female-gamer populations. According to Nielsen, 49 percent of Wii players and 52 percent of Sony PSP gamers are female.

Nielsen's study offers a lot of food for thought. Let's hear what you think about the Xbox 360 as the most-played game console, the ubiquity of gaming in the home, and the growth in female gamers.