The cost of PC Gaming Piracy

47 second read

Okay could someone please explain this to me.

Kieron Gillen has been monitoring illegal downloads from a torrent site and has come out with some scary figures.

For example in a single day recently (long after it’s release date) 8792 copies of Call of Duty 4 were downloaded.

Taking an average price of R300 per game that means that Activision lost out on a possible revenue of R2,637,600

That’s quite a wack of cash….  what really confuses me though is that these sites are allowed to continue operating without being shut down. If one person can get these stats why has this place (channel) not been shut down yet?

Follow the link for all the scary figures

Source: Kotaku 

Last Updated: March 6, 2008

Gavin Mannion

I for one welcome our future robotic overlords

  • kay

    Hardly surprising figures to anyone who’s ever torrented anything. I do find fault with the logic that states “one download = one lost sale” though. I think it’s much more likely that people pirating games (or music, or movies, or…) weren’t going to buy them at full price anyway.

    kay’s last blog post..Happy Valentines Day to All!

  • JP

    One pirated game does not equal one lost sale.

    If the torrent was not there it doesn’t mean that those guys would suddenly rush out to the shops to buy COD4 they’d just DL something else.

    If there was no piracy at all there will still be people that use pirated copies now that are just broke or unemployed so they will never get money from them anyway.

  • JP


    Even if someone has a job and has let’s say R600 disposable income. If they pirate 10 games a month, it doesn’t mean they’ll buy 10 games a month if piracy wasn’t there.

    They’d only buy 2 games a month.

  • AlphaV1za

    “what really confuses me though is that these sites are allowed to continue operating without being shut down. If one person can get these stats why has this place (channel) not been shut down yet?”

    Its not easy to just shut down these sites as Torrents are legal but the content aint.

    Whats makes it worse is that Torrents can be spread via a million different ways.

    Thats just my 2c…

  • kay

    JP, my point exactly! If 8792 people were inclined to download a game that means they weren’t inclined to spend the cash to start with. So if you remove the torrent you still won’t see an increase in sales. Or perhaps a very marginal one, but I also think that piracy exposes more people to the software, thus in turn might even generate some sales further down the road.

    Witness what is happening in the music industry – people pirate because they don’t see the value. Be it because the content is boring, the price too high, whatever. They weren’t willing to part with cash to start with. Radiohead and NIN’s recent net releases have shown that you can definitely make good money even if the product is basically available for free.

    kay’s last blog post..Happy Valentines Day to All!

  • Torrent sites cant be taken down mostly i think because they arent actually hosting any of the content.

  • j4nr1k

    Some great logic here. Agree that after a DL some people would buy the actual product. Esp if there is no demo etc availible. (COD4 had a demo, so no excuses there).

    This why more and more companies is moving the software to the consoles.

  • Naudran

    The thing is, moving a product to console means nothing… there’s already a chip out that allows pirated software on both the 360 & the Wii (not to sure about the PS3 as yet).

    A way will always be found to get something for nothing… it’s the way of human nature, I guess.

  • Thomeval

    Even if a torrent site was taken down, another would just take its place. In an extreme case, pirates would move to something else like Gnutella or Usenet. Taking down one site has very little effect in the long run.

  • sabagamma

    The thing is, it is not something for nothing. International torrent: R 280 for four gigabytes (a DVD). Local torrent R 80 for four gigabytes. That is excluding line rental, people uploading from you (news servers are better in this regard) and of course waiting for the thing to download – which can be between a day and a week depending on your luck. Add to that the fact that you have no official support, possibly no online play and no patches (they would block your illegal crack) – you then see the problems with piracy.

    IMHO if new games were priced at R 100 instead of R 600 you would have more than six people buying a game where previously only one person bought it – based on the economics above. That would mean you make up the money lost by reducing prices because of your massively increased volume sales.

  • JP

    sabagamma, if only the publishes had your sense.

    I don’t think it R100 a game would be viable for the PS3 though. A blue ray disc costs an arm and a leg.

  • Milesh Bhana ZA

    @subagamma, generally the downloaders are based in the US/Europe. Their internet is uncapped. So the download size doesn’t matter.

    Generally piracy involves a select few doing the download and their friends copying the stuff from them. (so that # of downloads figure is an underestimate)

  • RJ

    I think you all underestimate the overall income from games these days. The gaming industry is worth more than the movie industry, annualy, at the moment. These people are not hard done by because of pirated games.

    The one downside of pirating is the inflated prices. Piracy drives up retail prices BUT ask yourself this….. would the game producers drop the prices if piracy was stopped?
    I think not!

  • doobiwan

    Piracy is bad, M’kay!? 😉

    I think it’s about habit and culture. Piracy and free play is so entrenched in PC gaming these days people don’t even try to justify it to themselves anymore.

    Your right RJ. As a developer, as much as I abhor pirates, they seem to be the only way to force the publishers to drop game prices.

  • Lupus

    The scary thing is the actual media is not that expensive to make, in fact DVDs and Blue Ray discs are actually cheaper the n video cassettes to produce. IT’s just the content they charge an arm and a leg for. But yeah people started pirating cause of costs, everywhere who wants to pay R150 for a CD where you listen to 4 songs? So they pirate the 4 songs they want, you could buy the mp3’s but then you restricted on what you can play them on etc…

  • TR

    Piracy. Well I do agree that hey charge way too much for games now, but anyway I dont think there is anything wrong with downloading (illegal) stuff besides the fact that it is illegal. Think about it, its a FILE, not even an object. All it is is the manipulation of your ram to do what you want it to, in a very very complex order. I say so long as you don’t go to jail, sharing is caring!

Check Also

Report: Marvel Heroes developer shut down, game to close tomorrow

According to Disney and developer Gazillion, the game was scheduled to be shut off at the …