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Nielsen: Most Game-Console Owning Adults Are Parents

Video games aren't just for the kids anymore.

More than one in three U.S. adults who go online, or 37 percent, own a video game console and 16 percent own a portable gaming device, Nielsen/NetRatings (NTRT) said on Tuesday.

The majority of those console owners, 71 percent, are married and 66 percent have at least one child in the household.

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"As game consoles have become increasingly sophisticated, families have incorporated them into their centralized home media centers, which include the television, digital recording device, digital music player and the PC," said Carolyn Creekmore, senior director of media analytics, Nielsen/NetRatings.

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Sony Corp. (SNE) are positioning their Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles as entertainment hubs for gaming, music and photo viewing amid a fierce battle for dominance in the $30 billion global video- game market.

Sony in particular is making a huge bet on the living room, having installed a Blu-ray high-definition DVD player in each of its new PS3 consoles, which are available for $500 or $600 in the United States, depending on the size of the unit's hard drive.

Nintendo Co. Ltd. competes with the Xbox 360 and PS3, but is selling a more basic machine with a motion-sensing controller that has won raves from gamers and non-gamers and introduced new audiences to video games.

Nintendo's Wii console sells for $250, half the cost of the high-end Xbox 360, and in January was the top-selling console in the United States.

Going into the current console war, analysts had predicted that adult gamers who grew up with the Japanese game maker's products — dubbed "Nintendads" — would want to introduce their children to Nintendo games and be a key market for its new machine.