Quarter of British gamers download games

A survey of British gamers has found that a quarter prefer to purchase and download their games online, often through their console's store, rather than purchase a physical copy from a retail store. According to TNS, who conducted the survey, digital distribution will outstrip retail sales within three years.

The results of the UK National Gamers Survey 2009, which surveyed 13,000 people in the Netherlands, France, Germany, Belgium, the UK and the US, were unveiled at the London Games Conference last night.

The results show that more than half of gamers in the UK prefer to play video games on a console, with 35 percent preferring to play games on their computer instead. Of these numbers, 7 percent of console gamers said that they would buy a game or additional levels for a game directly through their console instead of going to the shops. This doubles to 14 percent for PC gamers.

Nineteen percent of respondents said they played games on their mobile phones, of which 44 percent download new games straight to their phone.

According to the Daily Telegraph, this is quite concerning for video game trailers, as stores usually recoup losses from game console sales by bundling them with a selection of games. With more and more titles becoming available directly from the console maker's online stores, this is becoming more difficult.

Industry insiders cite the recent price cuts on the PSP Go handheld console, which uses digital distribution only, as evidence of game downloads hurting profit margins.

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