Approval Ratings: Multiplayer and Online Services

Last Saturday we asked Kotaku readers 10 questions regarding their preferences and habits in online services and downloadable titles. PSN or Xbox Live? Fat Princess or Castle Crashers? You made the call, and the answers are inside.

As I said, the answer to some of these questions might seem painfully obvious, but the goal here is not to create some surprise majority answer. In fact, sometimes the surprises can be in the minority answers. Let's have a look at what you had to say.

1. On which network do you most frequently play games online?

Xbox Live: 38 percent (4,585 total responses)
A PC network: 35 percent (4,251)
PlayStation Network : 25 percent (2,971)
Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection: 2 percent (272)
12,079 total responses.

Xbox Live's strong showing is not shocking, considering its head start on console multiplayer and the fact earlier surveys have borne it out as Kotaku readers' preferred system. What is unusual is the distant third place for PSN, and the strongly competitive showing for PC multiplayer gaming. In our past survey, PCs rated 19 percent for the most-enjoyed platform, with PlayStation at 32 percent and Xbox 360 at 41. What's that mean? Either there are a lot of PC multiplayer gamers who'd rather be on their console, or a lot playing their PS3 for singleplayer only, and doing multiplayer on another platform. My bet is on the latter.

2. How often do you download game demos?

One to three times a month: 40 percent (4,729 total responses)
Less than once a month: 34 percent (3,960)
Once or more per week: 18 percent (2,097)
Never: 8 percent (977)
11,763 total responses.

Given all the coverage we do here of demo releases, it's easy to see why Kotaku readers seek them out at least once a month. One in five go grab a demo four times a month or more, which indicates a hardcore gaming interest across many genres and a willingness to try the latest and greatest.

3. What is your primary reason for using an online service?

Multiplayer gaming: 65 percent (7,617 total responses)
Purchasing games or content: 16 percent (1,917)
Accessing demos or free content: 14 percent (1,583)
Accessing multimedia (music or movies): 5 percent (599)
11,716 total responses.

OK, I admit, this is a big-duh question. A good third of the readershuip, however, use their online service for something other than multiplayer, and that's a trend that will only grow as digital distribution and content delivery becomes more robust. Now, on to the games.

4. Do you want to play Braid?

Yes: 57 percent (6,579 total responses)
No: 43 percent (5,021)
11,600 total responses.

As a linear platformer with no DLC add-ons, the strong majority who give Braid a thumbs up are definitely rewarding its thoughtful design, story, production values, and stature within the indie community.

5. Do you want to play Marvel vs. Capcom 2?

Yes: 43 percent (5,043 total responses)
No: 57 percent (6,614)
11,657 total responses.

A little surprised this fighter is in the minority so soon after a well anticipated rerelease on both console services. Of course, one could look at it from the other side, which is a previous-gen fighter as a paid download title is doing well to get 43 percent.

6. Do you want to play Fat Princess?

Yes: 55 percent (6,384 total responses)
No: 45 percent (5,232)
11,616 total responses.

The PS3's zany capture-the-flag exclusive is going strong 45 days after its release, with a solid majority interested in what it has to offer. A new map-pack undoubtedly helps, but for certain much of the score is based on the game's overall appeal.

7. Do you want to play Mega Man 9?

Yes: 38 percent (4,449 total responses)
No: 62 percent (7,137)
11,586 total responses.

Another two-way view. Mega Man 9 is more than a year old, so the 62 percent who are done with it is not unexpected. But the numbers who want to play it still are not that far off from Capcom's other downloadable title here, MVC2.

8. Do you want to play Castle Crashers?

Yes: 60 percent (6,982 total responses)
No: 40 percent (4,579)
11,561 total responses.

Castle Crashers' 60 percent approval rating is a sign of solid respect - the highest of any downloadable title surveyed - and helped by its continued development. Three weeks ago it released a new content pack that added characters and weapons.

9. Do you want to play Battlefield 1943?

Yes: 48 percent (5,509 total responses)
No: 52 percent (6,069)
11,578 total responses.

Here is a surprise for me. Battlefield 1943 was a roaring success from day one - the fastest selling downloadable game ever, with unbelievable playtime statistics on the first day of release. Can it really be so played out that a majority say no thanks two months later?

10. Do you want to play World of Goo?

Yes: 48 percent (5,611 total responses)
No: 52 percent (6,080)
11,691 total responses.

A wildcard entry here, World of Goo is the only downloadable exclusive to the Wii and no other consoles, although it is definitely helped by a strong PC user base. Remember those two platforms, PC and Wii, accounted for about 20 percent of the "preferred platform" votes in earlier surveys. World of Goo still rating nearly a 50 percent approval might be a vote on its reputation, but it's still a vote of confidence.

Look for more questions this Saturday, as we continue to flesh out the habits, preferences and trends among the Kotaku Gamer.