Sony Signs Up for Nielsen GamePlay

NEW YORK Sony Computer Entertainment America has signed on as the first subscriber to Nielsen’s GamePlay Metrics syndicated service designed to measure videogame usage throughout the U.S. The service debuts July 25.

As part of its agreement with Nielsen, Sony will supply Nielsen with complete “census” data of all game usage across its PlayStation 3 systems and PlayStation network. But the identities of individual game players will not be disclosed, said Nielsen vp Jeff Herrmann, who oversees the company’s game and mobile phone measurement services.

The GamePlay Metrics ratings service will provide national, industry-wide gaming estimates based on data collected from the 12,000-home Nielsen people meter sample used to calculate network TV and cable ratings.

The GamePlay service will compare game usage to TV viewing and, starting in the fall, also provide separate breakouts for Sony PlayStation and PS3 usage. In addition to ranking individual game titles, it will also measure specific exposure to ads within games, said Herrmann.

The Sony data will be combined with Nielsen’s people meter survey sample so that comparisons can be made between the actual usage of the former and the estimates derived from the latter. According to Nielsen, the Sony data will enable more accurate calculations of cost-per-thousand ad prices across the PS3 and PlayStation networks.

Increasingly, videogame networks are trying to serve targeted ads to individual gamers and the agreement between Sony and Nielsen is designed in part to better achieve that goal, said Herrmann.

Herrmann said his team is talking to other publishers and console makers about providing census usage data, which is the kind of “highly transparent and accurate data that advertisers and agencies want,” when considering where to place ads in the gaming medium. “But ad measurement is the primary thrust,” he said.

In addition to measuring usage, Nielsen is also talking to game publishers and others who sell ads about providing sales data, which would be tracked by Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Adweek is a unit of the Nielsen Co.