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Microsoft Xbox 360 Ties Sony PlayStation For Most Used

Latest Nielsen metrics show people are playing video games more this summer than they did a year ago.

Microsoft's Xbox 360 was neck and neck with Sony's PlayStation 2 as the video console with the highest number of usage minutes in June, a marketing research firm says.

In terms of number of active U.S. users, the Xbox 360 had the highest number of active console users in June, Nielsen said in its latest report. The Xbox has topped that category since January.

The latest Nielsen data also showed that people are playing video games more this summer than during the same period a year ago. The total number of console usage minutes rose 21% in June from a year ago. The average gamer played 768 minutes.

Nielsen also found that almost half of all video-game players are adults. However, children from 12 to 17 years old accounted for the largest percent of play among eight age categories. Teenagers accounted for 25% of gaming.

PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 tended to be more gender neutral than the other consoles, while the Xbox 360 continued to skew more male and the Nintendo Wii continued to tilt toward female.

More Americans are playing newer consoles than the older models, Nielsen found. The Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii made up 50% of total usage minutes in June, while last generation consoles, such as Xbox, PS2 and Gamecube, made up only 31% of the total. Older gaming consoles, including the PS One, Atari 2600, Nintendo 64, Sega Genesis and others, made up the remaining 19%.

Despite the latest Nielsen numbers, sales of video-game consoles in the June quarter weakened as a result of the down economy and the lack of new blockbuster video-games. Sony reported a 31% drop PlayStation 3 sales, and Nintendo reported that Wii sales fell by half.

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