Forty percent of American console users have purchased games or game levels via digital download, finds a new survey, although a much smaller percentage of users studied "usually" buy full games this way.
Intelligence firm Today's Gamers/TNS and Gamesindustry.com carried out several national surveys of consumers in both the U.S. and Western European markets, analyzing permeation of digital distribution, and found 15 percent of users buy games by direct download instead of at retail.
On solely the next-generation home console front -- Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii -- that figure goes up to 25 percent in the U.S., and looking only at PC users, the results are similar at 23 percent of users who buy games online via download.
In the UK, however, direct download is less prevalent: Just 7 percent of all console users and 14 percent of all PC users buy that way.
58 percent of the U.S. population plays games on consoles, and 41 percent plays PC games; 43 percent of those console players download either levels or complete games.
But for Xbox and PlayStation 3 alone, the figures jump to 73 percent and 68 percent, respectively. The download figure for Wii users is 46 percent.
A full graph of notable results reads as follows:
"With the growing part of games being played and paid for online, a key way to monitor the complete games business is by asking consumers directly about their overall game behavior and spending taking the complete population as a starting point," said researcher Peter Warman. "An additional advantage of this approach is insight across all platforms as the traditional divide between the online casual and core console market has evaporated."