Top Tech Trends of 2008

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News Posted: Fri, Jan 2 2009 11:04 AM

The number-crunching-happy folks over at the Nielsen Company recently released a report of popular trends in the U.S. for 2008 in the form of the ever-popular Top 10 Lists format (PDF). The data shows what were the most popular PC games, game consoles, mobile phones, Websites, and more for 2008. The data is informative, but the one caveat we want to point out is that most of the data doesn't actually cover the entire year--most of the trends reflect data culled from January to only October 2008. While it is unlikely that the missing data from the last two months of the year will skew the results much, if there were any end-of-the-year surprises, they will not be reflected in the trends that Nielsen reported.

As to what was the most popular Website of 2008 in the U.S., it should come as little surprise to anyone that it was Google, with a "monthly unique audience" of about 120.5 million users. Although Yahoo! wasn't far behind at the number two spot with about 114.9 million users. Google and Yahoo! were the only sites that generated over an average of 100 million users per month.



As to what was the most popular mobile phone in use in the U.S. (not the most popular phone sold) in 2008, that would be the seemingly ubiquitous Motorola RAZR V3 Series, of which various iterations have existed since 2004; approximately 9.3-percent of the "embedded base of all subscribers" in the U.S. use a Motorola RAZR V3 Series phone. The Apple iPhone was the fourth most used phone in the U.S., with 1.5-percent of the user base.



Despite the fact that the Nintendo Wii was the most popular game console in terms of units sold in 2008, it was not the most popular console in terms of the amount of time players spent using it. That bragging right goes to the nine-year old Sony Playstation 2 (which can still be purchased at some retail stores and online). When it comes to actual time spent using the consoles, the Wii comes in third, behind the Xbox 360.



The final category we look at is the top 10 PC game titles in terms of the total numbers of users playing them (not in terms of titles sold). No surprise here: The most played game of 2008 was World of Warcraft (WOW)--with the average user spending a whopping 671 minutes per week (that's over 11 hours per week) playing the game. In fact, Nielsen estimates that at any given moment, an average of about 0.723-percent of all PC gamers are playing WOW. The second-most played game of 2008 was Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare--with the average player spending 403 minutes (almost 7 hours) per week playing the game, and about 0.163-percent of all PC gamers playing at any given moment. Surprisingly, The Sims, a nine-year old game was the fourth most popular game of 2008.






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3vi1 replied on Fri, Jan 2 2009 11:56 AM

Hmmm... Over half the list is 4+ years old, with Counter-Strike being close to 10.

Counterstrike: March 24, 1999

Diablo: ? 2000

Sims: February 4, 2000.

Counterstrike Source: August 11, 2004

Sims2: September 14, 2004

And the top console is still the PS2, after the others have been out for two holiday shopping seasons.

There are a lot of possible conclusions that might be drawn:

1) The quality of most games is such that people generally don't find anything as fun as what they're already playing for 4+ years.

2) The average gamer (not us Nimrods ) doesn't own a high-end gaming rig and has not found a killer-app for a new console, so they play what works well on their system.

It would be interesting to see this Top 10 data for the last 10 years and look at the relative age of the top titles. If the games in the list are trending older and older...

3) We could be headed for another mid-80's style videogame industry crash.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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peti1212 replied on Fri, Jan 2 2009 12:33 PM

I look at this list like this. Sure we have a lot of fun games that are out at the moment, but the lists show that obviously the best games were the old ones. I think the reason for this is because companies put too much into graphics and all that and did not put too much time into thinking what would make a game ultimately fun.

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Its suprising to see RuneScape up in the top 10. I thought other PC games would put it off the list. Surprise

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3vi1 replied on Fri, Jan 2 2009 7:39 PM

Runescape's got the benefit of being free and completely crossplatform (since it will run in any browser that supports Java). There are still something like 15 million active players.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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3vi1:

 

3) We could be headed for another mid-80's style videogame industry crash.

I think maybe this is why the PC market gets ignored. Console gamers tend to move on much quicker. Not to many people playing playstation one games anymore.

 

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rapid1 replied on Sat, Jan 3 2009 1:20 PM

     I as a long time Hardware addict and a gamer find some of this indicative within itself. I would like to see a profit margin on the gaming section, as I would guarantee you MMO's and there like with a monthly renewable income are the most profitable.

     I have wondered that ever since EQ1's release and of course I played it for 6 years. The gaming industry question that's to be debated for sure and is to me at least on the MMO front somewhat stalled. Being, that we have all seen very recent reports on the gaming industry being unaffected by the current economic downturn this doesn't seem to matter to much.

     The viability on a commercial front is quite obvious, but the difference from game to game is minimal really. However, it has been so for quite some time now, being I still see many features on the MMO front from EQ1.

     I do find however, it quite funny that all this gaming news and ratings get piled onto Warcraft. When as far as the MMO game style and its effect on the market are second hand. From day 1 it has been simplified and requires no recent hardware in any sense.

     Even beyond that I think the gaming market on several fronts has already been stalled for a while. Hopefully that will change more and more as we get to Active X 11 and other recenet and future software tools becoming available and implemented. We also see the adoption of more multi CPU and GPU functionality which enhances fluidity and flow graphically on all entertainment fronts.

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affinity replied on Sat, Jan 3 2009 10:54 PM

I can't believe more people play CS than CS:S. I find source so much more enjoyable... especially some of the mods.

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