Nielsen study finds 56% of US households have Xbox 360, PS3 or Wii

Remember the days when you and a group of friends all had to go to the same house because only one of you had a video game console? And if you were lucky enough to be that one friend, you never had to worry about losing your popularity. Now, however, it's a much different story. If you don't have a modern game platform, you're now in the minority.

So says the latest study from customer research giant Nielsen. The group found that only 44% of US households are completely devoid of the current round of consoles, all of which have been on the market for more than five years. The Xbox 360 has been available since 2005. Because of the longer console life cycle, it's possible for budget-conscious and non-gamer consumers to come in late in the process and still have the most up-to-date console available.

According to Nielsen, overall gaming activity increased by 7%, a number that also included smartphone and tablet games. That is what the company sees as a potential major trend for 2012. It also expects cross-platform connectivity between different devices to explode this year. And its last prediction for the future – in-game monetization will be a big trend. That is, get ready to start spending a lot more money on your games after you buy or download them.

[via Gamespot]