The Ten Most Avidly-Played Wii Games In America (As Of July 1)S

Back after a two month absence, here is your list of the 10 Wii games that get the most play per user (disclaimers and explanation below). Wii Sports and Tales of Symphonia are knocked out of the top 10.

Make way for Rune Factory Frontier and Rock Band 2 in our (theoretically) monthly study of which Nintendo Wii games are getting played the most, per user.

We're not tracking sales here. Any game can get bought. We're tracking how much time these games get used by the people who own and rent them as tabulated by the Nintendo Channel's indexing of play time by two million Wii owners. The results should tell us how much people who wind up with these games like them. That's more interesting, no?

Rune Factory: Frontier, a March-released RPG with a deep farming and dating system, was no big seller. But the lengthy FAQs for it are proof that there's more than enough content in the game to justify the playing times reported here by the '09 release. Wii gamers love their virtual farming and dating.

Rock Band 2's appearance is no surprise, as it surges toward Guitar Hero III. Notably, Rock Band 2 has passed the average playing time of its predecessor, while Guitar Hero World Tour has not passed its predecessor, Guitar Hero III.

What's the lesson from July? Hardcore RPGs get a lot of playing time. So do games that are fun at parties. And so do games with strong online multiplayer. Hear that, Wii developers? Strong. Online. Multiplayer.

We'll have a closer look at the playing times of some other Wii games in the next couple of days.

I tracked these numbers for the first of the month since September of 2008 and will continue to here for Kotaku. These stats are through July 1. We skipped the June report due to E3, but Kotaku's newest intern, Andrew Freedman did a great job catching those numbers for our records early last month.

Where's all this from? (AKA an explanation of the above chart for stat junkies only): In a move somewhat surprising for the generally secretive company, Nintendo makes all of this data public. Any Wii owner can download the Nintendo Channel to their Wii and begin browsing for games. Any game that has been played enough times has usage stats listed for it, contributed by anyone who chose to share their data with the channel. The sample size that the channel tracks is pretty good. We calculate it by looking at Wii Sports usage numbers, which show that almost 69 million sessions of that game have been played by Nintendo Channel users (up seven million in two months), for an average of 28.52 sessions per player. That divides to more than 2.4 million Wii Sports users whose gaming has been tracked by the channel. Since almost all Wii Sports owners would be Wii users, we will venture that as many as 2.4 million people are contributing stats. That is up from 2.2 million people when these numbers were ran for May 1.