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Here’s the video game you should buy this holiday season

If you have a gamer in your household, this is a story you might want to read before deciding what to buy them this holiday season.

First person shooters remain hot according to a survey of hotly anticipated upcoming video games, as the top two most sought after games fall in the genre. Research firm Nielsen found that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, available November 8, tops many gamer’s wish lists: a quarter of respondents listed the title in their top five holiday games.

This was followed by the popular Xbox 360 franchise title Gears of War 3, which 19 percent of respondents placed in their lists. Gears of War was released on September 20.

Franchise titles also remain popular and out of the top 20 games on Nielsen’s list, all but one game is part of a bigger franchise. Notable franchise titles in the top ten included EA Sports’ Madden NFL ’12, Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and 2K Interactive’s NBA 2K12.

“While Action/Adventure games hold the most spots in the Top 20, the list is a testament to the diverse interests of today’s gamers—from the intense action of First Person Shooters like Square Enix’s Deus Ex: Human Revolution, to the energetic enthusiasm of Music/Rhythm games such as Ubisoft’s Just Dance 3, to the epic sense of adventure in Bethesda’s RPG Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim,” the firm said in its report.

In addition to asking what titles gamers are seeking, Nielsen also attempted to understand why. The allure of the launch parties and apparent darker and harder storyline of Call of Duty 3 are among the reasons why gamers can’t wait for its release; while downloadable previews and multi-player functionality are attracting gamers to the new Assassin’s Creed.

The study was conducted between August 21 and September 17, and interviewed approximately 5,000 gamers who were asked to list five games that they’re most excited about this holiday season. The buzz surrounding these titles come from over 417 million online conversations scanned by Nielsen’s NM Incite division.

We’ve obtained the full 20 game list from Nielsen and are curious to hear whether any of these titles interest you. Any title not on the list that is on your top five games of the holidays? Speak up in the comments.

Nielsen’s Top 20 Games to Watch for Holiday 2011
TitleGenrePlatformsPublisher% Choosing
as Top 5
Key Elements of Online Conversations
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3Shooter360, PS3, Wii, PCActivision27%upcoming launch parties, changes in the new game, ‘darker mood’, hardened version vs standard
Gears of War 3Shooter360Microsoft Game Studios19%high anticipation for launch, best prices at retailers, sharing info on codes and downloads
Madden NFL 12Sports (Simulated)360, PS3, Wii, PSPElectronic Arts19%challenge matches, calling in sick in order to play
Assassin’s Creed: RevelationsAction / Adv360, PS3, PCUbisoft17%downloadable previews, multi-player functionality
Batman: Arkham CityAction / Adv360, PS3, PCWarner Bros Interactive15%new villains in the game
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward SwordAction / AdvWiiNintendo14%nostalgia for series brings back ‘old school’ gamers, similar feel to Ocarina Of Time
Battlefield 3Shooter360, PS3, PCElectronic Arts12%many feel this title is superior to competing titles in the genre, differences in game performance by platform
Just Dance 3Music / Rhythm360, PS3, WiiUbisoft12%excitement for new tracks announced
NBA 2K12Sports (Simulated)360, PS3, Wii, PC, PSP2K Interactive9%online demos, discussions of how to adjust schedule to allow more time to play
Need for Speed: The RunRacing / Driving360, PS3, Wii, PC, 3DSElectronic Arts9%exclusive Porsche models in the game, anticipation as a holiday gift
Uncharted 3: Drake’s DeceptionAction / AdvPS3Sony Computer Entertainment9%high expectations of this title being even better than the previous iterations
Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic GamesSports (Arcade)Wii, 3DSSEGA8%gaming experts mention this title alongside other titles announced at the 3DS conference
LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7Action / Adv360, PS3, Wii, PC, PSP, DS, 3DSWarner Bros Interactive8%sharing previews and speculation on the upcoming game
FIFA Soccer 12Sports (Simulated)360, PS3, Wii, PC, PSP, DS, 3DSElectronic Arts8%FIFA vs Madden, desires for more pro and career mode options in the new release
The Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimRPG360, PS3, PCBethesda Softworks8%M rating / graphic nature not a deterrent, daily countdown until release
Dead IslandAction / Adv360, PS3, PCDeep Silver7%looking for gaming partners for online co-op
Kinect Sports: Season 2Sports (Arcade)360Microsoft Game Studios6%high expectations for the upcoming sequel, considerable attention from casual gamers
Resistance 3ShooterPS3Sony Computer Entertainment4%franchise fans call it a ‘must have’ ‘game of the year’
Dance Central 2Music / Rhythm360Microsoft Game Studios4%enthusiasm for the ability to import songs from the original title
Deus Ex: Human RevolutionShooter360, PS3, PCSquare Enix3%best prices at retailers, differences in game performance by platform
Source: Nielsen

Photo Credit: Joe Wilcox

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