NEW YORK: US television ratings provider Nielsen Media Research has set up a new division to monitor video games played on TV in a move aimed at boosting advertising potential.

NMR's Wireless and Interactive Services arm says it will provide accurate data on how much game playing goes on, compared with watching TV programs.

The information, to be gathered via a modified version of Nielsen's People Meter, will offer a top-20 style rating system for most-played video games, similar to existing TV show ratings.

Jeff Herrmann, vp of the new service, says the data will allow the videogame industry to develop an advertising business model to offset the steep development costs of new titles for next-generation consoles.

Hypes Herrmann: "A reliable and accurate standard of measurement for video gaming will drive advertising investment in this medium and convert video game advertising from a discretionary choice to a must-have option."

While the US will be first to get the data, Herrmann says Nielsen is pursuing expansion into the Asia-Pacific region and selected EU markets.

Data sourced from Financial Times online; additional content by WARC staff