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Not quite as many pirates as the industry imagined

2 min read

Remember when Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said there was a 93-95% piracy rate? Yeah, he was wrong!

In a university study, researchers showed that the level of piracy is not as high as previously believed.  Using specialized software to monitor BitTorrent over a three month period, the researchers tracked filesharing of 173 computer games.  The researchers acknowledged that it was only a snapshot of a time period, yet the levels of downloads were not as high as anticipated.  The most interesting part of the study were the genres:

“First and foremost, P2P game piracy is extraordinarily prevalent and geographically distributed [at least it was during the period analysed]. However, the numbers in our investigation suggest that previously reported magnitudes in game piracy are too high. It also appears that some common myths are wrong, e.g. that it is only shooters that get pirated, as we see a lot of activity for children’s and family games on BitTorrent for the period we investigated.”

Who knew it was a common myth that only shooters get pirated?  In any event, they only make up 12.7% of the downloads.  RPGs come in on top with 18.9%, followed by action-adventure at 15.9%.  Additionally, the research shows that there is a correlation between a game’s score on Metacritic and the volume of downloads.

What do you think about this whole debate?  Do you think piracy is killing gaming?  Do you think pirates never buy the game?  In my experience, most people download when they’re unsure of something, but will spend the money once they know they like it.  Be it with music, movies or games, most people will actually support the studios and buy the product once they’re sure it’s not crap.

Of course, this ignores the side of the internet that’s given up on torrents in favour of…other means. 

Last Updated: May 16, 2013

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