Study: Better Games Are Pirated More

You wouldn't believe it, but a "scientific" study has proven that the better the game, the more it gets downloaded through peer to peer networks.

The "surprising" results were revealed by Anders Drachen, Kevin Bauer and Rob Veitch at the university of Waterloo, University of Colorado and Copenhagen Business School.

The research team monitored the p2p downloads of 173 over a three months span at the end of 2010 / start of 2011.

Only 127 games of the 173 chosen games were available on BitTorrent. Those games were downloaded by 12.7 million unique peers during the study period. While this means that the average game got downloaded 100,000 times, it is worth noting that the 10 most downloaded games account for 5.3 million downloads (42% of the total).

The most downloaded game during the study was Fallout: New Vegas with 962,243 downloads, followed by Darksiders and Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit with 656,296 and 656,243 downloads. NBA 2k11 was downloaded 545,559 times; TRON Evolution - 496,349 downloads; Call of Duty: Black Ops - 469,864 downloads; Starcraft 2 - 420,138 downloads; Star Wars the Force Unleashed 2 - 415,021 downloads; Two Worlds II - 388,236 downloads, and The Sims 3: Late Night - 356,771 downloads.

The researchers noticed a high correlation between the games' metacritic score and the number of times it was downloaded from BitTorrent. "The result indicates a statistically significant positive relationship between the number of unique peers and aggregated review scores," the paper explained. "Put differently, Metacritic Scores explain 10 percent of the variance in the unique peers per game on BitTorrent."

The researches announced that they are looking into other factors that affect piracy rates, but they didn't name any of them.

Add new comment

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



All of those "top" games are more of the same... I don't know about you people out there, but these 1-2 years have been weak on gaming releases. I'm surprised Dragon Age 2 wasn't in the list.. since it's also wide spread over the web (and this one sucks big time).


Pirates don't need to pirate a failed experiment called DA:2 besides there are easier ways to remove DRM even though the industry wants to screw with your brains. Just pirate install shield and piratically extract the contents of your game without installing it with the DRM garbage. Fair warning though most DRM is embeded directly into a games .exe thus making extraction useless. Piracy doesn't mean DRM is extinct it simple means the .exe has removed cd check nothing else. Now I wait for some industry asshole to pass this information to the powers that be.

I'd be far more interested...

...In a study cross comparing IP addresses that have pirated games, followed by IP addresses that buy the same games on sale via the digital download managers - Steam, Origins, GOG, etc. I've always believed game piracy has been an issue of game quality vs quantity of money asked for said game; i.e., the game I beat in four hours is NOT worth the money I earned working for twelve. I know I've purchased far more games for under $10 on the steam sales and from GOG than I have for $40~$60.

I remember Cafe Fulgar said something interesting on their blog. Something along the lines that they made enough money with Reccettear on sale for $5 on steam that, even after paying their licensing royalties, the entire staff could produce nothing during the entire 2011 fiscal year and STILL be paid. They've gone on to localize another game called Chantelise, and lowered the initial asking price to $10, rather than Reccettear's opening bid of $20. Now, there's a game company that has learned it's market. So, what's keeping EA, Activision, Blizzard, and others from doing the same?

I typically argue the same point

but you must really sprint through everything you play if you beat anything (even Portal) in 4 hours & have a piss poor paying job if it takes 12 hours to afford even the highest priced game.

I get your point, & agree. Fallout New Vegas is worth 5 times more than CoD yet is priced 5 times less. I wonder what most people are gonna buy?


They can't do it because it's just sales diagrams and pie charts, if they undersell it might hurt granny. I agree however with your point on quality vs quantity, what I see with indy games in general is that they have a wide market of exploitable revenue. I mean exploitable in the sense they can literally wipe the big guys clean, the only factor stopping the average dev team vs a professional house of devs is the technology used. That is now slowly changing pace however and it's a good thing, fight the powa viva revolution. I also agree with the $10 - $20 price point its the difference between a napalm and a banana.

exactly and whats is most

exactly and whats is most important a loots of this cheap games are FUN and thous BIG Project are NOT. In end big plays like EA and etc. can blame just themselves if their billion dollar budget mega project don´t fulfill their expectations.

Of coarse the are some white crows like Deus EX 3 but... from mi Deus Ex is only ONE, ONE "big" game which is really worthy thous money from year, and this is not good.

Go Indie folks, Die die EA and take it like rightful vengeance for Westwood and C&C.


I wonder if these companies ever factor in the average users ISP caps, download speeds and overall bandwidth. We won't even fight over crazy cool or crappy argument, if their that afraid of piracy they should just stop making games.

Does that even make sence?

It says the more popular the game, the more it is downloaded but CoD Black Ops is halfway down the list of downloaded games only getting half as much as Fallout. I'm sure Black Ops sold alot more copies that Fallout NV did.

I'm sure Black Ops didn't.

They mentioned a correlation between Metascores & number of downloads. NV has a higher Metascore than BO & it's only by 3 points but it's a well known fact that every CoD game sucks & they're all the same & boring as hell on top of being overpriced. It was so far down the list 'cuz everyone is too busy getting 5-10X more play time & enjoyment from Fallout than they ever could from another lame CoD game.

I just bought New Vegas off Steam for $10 & all the DLC for $15 on sale. I hope more people will wait 'til prices fall to a reasonable level & buy the good games & just pirate the shitty ones like CoD that seem to stay @ $60 long after they are worth less than $5. I've never paid for a CoD but I've played 'em all except BO & I feel like a waste of time is a waste of time, whether it's spent making the money to pay for a shitty game or just spent playing the shitty game. At least I never spent both on a stupid CoD.


so this is the reason why they make shitty games. no wonder most of the new games dont last more than 2 weeks.
oh wait, shitty games are instantly pirated or erased off the radar because.. you guessed it. it was too shitty that even reviewers wont give as a chance to even try it out.

could it be

because it is so damn EXPENSIVE? I have bought plenty of overhyped overpaid games like LOST PLANET, LEGENDARY, DEVIL MAY CRY etc. They were bought for hype and being so big and awesome, however after a few hours of playing u just want ur 50USD back, thats right 50 USD, u can pay your rent in some places people "pirate" with that money. I am also sure most games pirated are from EA and not because they are so big, but because they are just so damn good at rushing titles out unfinished and slapping a huge price on top. Something like RA3 that plays for precisely 2 hours and leaves you wondering WTF was that?

Add new comment