Top Tech Trends of 2008

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.