The 10 Most Avidly-Played Wii Games In America (As Of Nov 1)S

Lots to discuss about these stats this month, as Call of Duty rises to fourth and Guitar Hero III begins to dip. Remember, the numbers show hours:minutes, lifetime, for these games.

(Click the chart to enlarge)

The Nintendo Channel is properly calculating and reporting player data again and so I can provide this month's look at Wii gaming usage without last month's asterisks. The stats on the chart are up to date as of the first of November.

Smash continues to reign, but look at that graph. Animal Crossing seems bound to catch it.

Guitar Hero III has been flat for a while, which either means no one new has bought it and those who have it have stopped playing it (doubtful) or that new users' lack of time with the game is balancing out veteran users' continued use. Whatever the case may be, the game dipped slightly this month for the first time in a while. GHIII is a 2008 game. It's successor Guitar Hero World Tour is at 35:18 and rising. The 2009 edition, Guitar Hero 5, just charted for the first time this month. But it's still low. Down at 13 hours flat.

Two games rose in the top 10 this month. Call of Duty, fueled likely by its online play, passed the single-player Fire Emblem. Harvest Moon passed Zelda.

No new games have entered the top 10. Tales of Symphonia is well outside at the number 11 spot with 38 hours, 43 minutes. Wii Sports follows at 37:33. Down a bit lower in the mid-teens are some games that are rising and may someday crack the top 10: Mario Kart Wii (35:06), FIFA 09 (34:21) and WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw 2009 (32:15).

Tomorrow, as usual, I'll have a closer look at a slice of some of the recent numbers.

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, though it is obviously biased toward users who hook up a Wii to the Internet. We calculate that sample size by looking at Wii Sports usage numbers, which show that more than 82 million sessions of that game have been played by Nintendo Channel users as of November 1 (up 4 million in the last month), for an average of 29.9 sessions per player. That divides to more than 2.7 million Wii Sports users whose gaming has been tracked by the channel. Since almost all Wii Sports owners in North America would be Wii users, we will venture that as many as 2.7 million people are contributing stats. That is up from the 2.6 million people when these numbers were run for October 1.