The latest Active Gamer Benchmark Study by Nielsen Entertainment found some surprising statistics about female gamers in the US.

Out of the 56% of active gamers who play games online, women actually make up 64% of them. However, in the overall gaming world, men still outnumber women by two-to-one.

The online survey questioned 2200 players who were at least 13-years-old, owned at least one gaming device, and played games at least 1 hour per week; this gives Nielsen insight into the very specific demographic of active gamers.

While many people think of gamers as inhabiting a very isolated world, the survey found that active gamers spend at least 5 hours a week playing socially, and teenagers spend about 7 hours per week playing videogames with others.

And although two out of five gamers are teenagers, almost 8% of gamers are now older than 45 years. Older females make up the largest percentage of casual gamers, teens and young adults also play casual games for at least an hour a week.

Those gamers who are eager to pre-order games or buy it the first day of release are those that prefer Role Playing games, which are actually the most popular genre among teenagers.

Nielsen believes that online games offer simple yet engaging encounters that attract older women to games, as do Massively Multiplayer Online Games that let gamers connect in a different way to when they play on consoles or handhelds.

The survey also examined what active gamers use to play videogames. Sixty-four per cent actually use a PC-based system, but out of those who play on consoles, the PS2 is the most popular at nearly 60% of gamers using one. The Xbox is used by 33%, while the GameCube is the choice of another thirday. The Xbox360 trails at 15%.

Active gamers also tend to own a console and at least one other platform.

Gamers usually spend about 14 hours a week glued to their consoles, and as much as 17 hours a week using their handheld devices.

The study also showed that active gamers bought about four games over a 6 month period, and spend 47 hours playing each of the games.