According to a new Nielsen survey, “U.S. Gaming: A 360° View,” over half of households (56 percent) own at least one current generation gaming console as of January 2012, up from 50 percent last year. Also, gamers increasingly play across multiple screens, with 24 percent playing on two or more of a console, a PC or a mobile / tablet device, which is up from 17 percent in 2009.

Also, competition and overlap in the mobile / handheld / tablet gaming space is increasing, as 66 percent of households with kids ages 6-12 that own a Nintendo DS or Sony PSP also reported having an Apple iOS device. Android OS gaming is done most among adults 25-34, while iPhone gaming is distributed more evenly across age segments.

Not surprisingly, the Internet is more important than ever for advertising, with gamers spending more time on the Web outside of gaming and ad spend is shifting from print to digital for top games and consoles. E-commerce was an increasingly popular way to purchase games, up 3 percent over last year, while other channels experienced declines.

Consoles are also increasingly becoming entertainment hubs, with 65 percent of consoles now located in the living room, led by the Nintendo Wii (75 percent). That said, Kinect for Xbox 360 is helping to shift that platform toward communal spaces. Roughly four out of five of those interested in any Next-Gen console are current console owners, even though much remains unknown about future consoles.

Source: U.S. Gaming: A 360° View survey