Games Are Not Pirated As Often As Believed

Internet pirating of video games is a big deal, but is not nearly as prevalent or as targeted as expected.
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Piracy is a very real issue for any modern artist.  The ease with which anyone can go online to a torrenting site and find virtually any movie, software, or song is almost embarrassing.  Defending copyrighted material is a constant battle, requiring vigilance and often nothing more or less than luck.  A major point of contention between the gaming industry and gamers is exactly how big of an impact piracy has on sales.

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A paper has been published outlining a three-month study of piracy as related to gaming, and the results challenge some of the previous preconceptions and reported figures.  The ESA, for example, reported around ten million illegal downloads of more than 200 games just during the month of December in 2009, where the new published study shows approximately 12.6 million illegal downloads of 173 different games over the entire three-month period of the study.

Also shown were inconsistencies with the assumptions about what types of games are pirated.  The study found a surprising number of kids and family games being pirated, along with casual games.

Another noteworthy find was how many more games are pirated immediately after release.  Longer experimental times makes for better analytical capability to begin with, but short study periods could result in grossly inflated numbers as a direct result of release dates.

Let’s see more real studies on this before the next SOPA or CISPA comes up, please.  It would be nice to have actual evidence for a change.

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Writer, gamer, and generally hopeful beneath a veneer of cynicism.