Digital purchases might be the future, but that's just the thing with the future; it's in the future. Today is the present, and today, people still prefer buying things that are pressed on plastic and come in boxes.
A study performed by the NPD Group has found that during Q3 2009 (August-September), 90% of all game purchases were "physical", meaning they came on a disc or cartridge. Leaving the other 10% of purchases to be...anyone? Yes, digital, meaning they were downloaded.
The study also had some interesting numbers on games piracy, especially if you're a Nintendo, Microsoft or Sony executive gripped by fear: "only" six million gamers admitted to downloading games illegally during the same period. Six million sounds like a lot, but the NPD Group say that's only 4% of all gamers.
And of that 4%, 72% of the pirating was being done on PC and Mac. So while console piracy is definitely a problem, it's might not be the epidemic some platform holders and publishers would have you believe.
NPD: 90 Percent Of Paid Game Purchases Were Physical In Q3 [Gamasutra]