Hey, wait a minute? Since when are video games so huge? Oh yes, since quite a while. But the numbers are bigger than ever, according to the latest Nielsen results: 41.1% (or about 45.7 million) of TV-owning households in America also have a video game console as of Q4 2006. Nielsen Wireless and Interactive Services brought us these numbers earlier today, along with several others, but this one was easily the most impressive.

This number is up from the 39.1% (about 43 million) in 2005 and the 35.2% (about 38.6 million) in 2004. And not surprisingly, it appears gaming is still very much a male-oriented hobby, despite the number of female gamers increasing dramatically over the past decade. The report shows that nearly 2/3 of all men in TV-owning households between the ages of 18 and 34 have access to a game console, and at any given minute during the day – wait for it – 1.6 million entertainment-seekers are having fun with a game console.

"The video game console has become a major player in the battle for the living room," said Jeff Herrmann, VP of Nielsen Wireless and Interactive Services. "In households across the country, consoles are successfully competing for consumers' time and attention; not simply as gaming platforms, but as multimedia hubs that also can deliver high quality digital movies and IPTV."

Who thinks it'll break 50% by 2010 or perhaps even before? 'raises hand'

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