New Study: All Other Studies Overestimated Piracy Size

The first truly independent study on the topic found that studies conducted by opponents and proponents have overestimated the extent of gaming piracy and its effect.

The study was conducted by Anders Drachen from the Department of Communication and Psychology at Aalborg University and the PLAIT Lab at Northeastern University as well as Robert Veitch from the Department of IT Management at Copenhagen Business School.

The team decided to investigate the true size of piracy because "despite the substantial debate about digital game piracy, there is minimal objective information available about the relative magnitude of piracy, or its distribution across different countries nor across game titles or game genres."

To that effect, the team monitored and analyzed the BitTorrent traffic of 173 videogames from 14 different platforms including PC, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DS, iOS/Mac and PSP. While selecting those torrents, the team was careful to monitor cracked full game torrents only; so free games and games released on BitTorrent by their developers were not included.

In a three months period between 2010 and 2011, only 12.6 million unique peers from 250 areas were sharing illicit copies of games such as Fallout: New Vegas, Darksiders, Tron Evolution, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Starcraft 2 and The Sims 3: Late Night.

According to the study, the top 10 most downloaded games have accounted for 42.7% of the number of unique peers (5.37 million out of 12.6 million) and that the top 20 countries have hogged 76.7% of the total activity.

For comparison, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) claims that it had tracked almost 10 million illegal downloads of around 200 games in December 2009. It is hard to believe that one month’s worth of piracy in 2009 is equal to that of three months in 2011.

On the other hand, TorretnFreak reported that the top five most downloaded PC games in 2010 had been downloaded 18.14 million times (over the whole year) and that the top five most downloaded console games in the same year had been downloaded 5.34 million times.

The new study’s observations seem to back TorrentFreak’s numbers. According to the new study, the top 10 games rack 1.79 million downloads per month, which is slightly more than TorrentFreak’s average of 1.512 million downloads per month.

The full text of the new study can be found here.

Add new comment

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.



If they weren't so greedy they would no Piracy at all ! cant you see ppl ? they are building monopoly out of this gaming industry whatsoever ! it is fact that not all people can afford a decent tech pc yet alone the game ! so do the math and you'll see why a poor little guys out there are forced to NOT TO BUY it in legal ways ! if someone wants to have his or her top 10 games which are released every year they should at least pay 700$ at minimum ! greedy companies made people this way! with all DLCs and god know what add-on for a fee they made people - desprate gamers to be like this ! now they analyse it ?! like or not there is saying that says : if you ban something it will be smuggled ! I personally suggest that publisher take second long look at their policies and the way they sell their games !

It would have been nice to

It would have been nice to read what impact 'piracy' has with regards to criminal organisations. --- I'd really love to hear how the various games publishers could get out of the statements they've made over the years, saying how it funds such criminal groups.

Who ******* cares?

Aside from the greedy corporations that try to make generous gamers into the bad guys for sharing by calling it "stealing" or even "piracy" (what a ******' crock, piracy is taking by force something that is not reproducible by those doing the taking), who gives a **** about another bogus, bullshit, meaningless study that will change nothing.


All I could think reading this was "No ****." Gaming industry is constantly on the rise and sales increase each year. Never have I believed piracy is detrimental to it. Moreover, with f2p business models becoming more popular, you circumvent all piracy issues. Lastly, I've pirated games all my life. Now that I have a well paying job, I'm paying for them. And I believe most pirates are of the same mindset ( according to some other study, too, saying people who pirate music are more likely to buy it than others ).

i just buy it, why need to

i just buy it, why need to download. waste of b/w and time. i just buy it. there are tons of pirate dvd selling, in fact i just bought Metro along side windows 8. captcha: narrow-minded , piracy is needed in gaming world, without piracy, the games would never be popular in the first place! they should thank pirates

The reason piracy is even at

The reason piracy is even at the levels that they claim, is because of accessibility. But now we have direct downloads and cloud gaming, piracy levels will probably go down eventually. just stop trying to battle it and beat them at their own game (pun intended). Lower prices and and subscription fees. Who knows, maybe eventually cloud gaming (or whatever it becomes) will dominate piracy.


im sure the majority of people who pirate are similar in mindset to me, i will only download something if i wasnt going to purchase it anyways. So in this because there is no physical value to a digital download no money is being lost by the developer of a title because I wasnt going to buy it anyways. I still buy the big names that i like, Call of Duty, battlefield, Skyrim, Civilization etc etc. but games id like to play but am in no way willing to pay for i still get to play, and may convince me to buy the next version in the series.

Like my DS games

I downloaded a lot of them, and the ones I didn't liked, I didn't bought them... What they don't like is that when you play a pirated game and you don't like it, you don't go blinded to the store to throw your money away. Piracy is good for the good gamer, and is a nightmare for bad publishers, I won't say names, so I will write some of them: EA and Activision.


Its great that you buy the games that are rehashed every so often, that's not what's killing gaming at all...

But the damage is done; the gaming is dying...slow death...

However the media cartels have got the governments around the world to invest heavily against antipiracy measures convincing those greedy politicians of some fairytale lost tax revenues which made their moth water while the likes of Google take the **** with tax avoidance, that's the ****** up world we live in - the bankers raped the nation and got away with it! Now that the true extent is known and the fact that all those games company are going bust for producing the same **** over and over again. And blaming the ******* gamers for all their failures, when ipad and all the clones (the tablets) are thriving without mentioning angrybirds; when something is good people will want to pay for, and play (waste their real lives/time), keeping them busy in their little community until their pubics are grey! And ready for the ******* dirt (grave)..


"when ipad and all the clones (the tablets)" - That made me laugh, now tablets are ipad clones, not the other way around. Gotta love how misinformation spreads...

Add new comment