Apparently Game Piracy Isn’t As Bad As They Say It Is
If you ask the ESA about game piracy, it will claim that there are some ten million illegal downloads of over two hundred games per month.
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However a new, immensely massive, study has found that that data is inaccurate, by quite a long shot. Effectively, this means that game piracy is not nearly as widespread as the industry might claim it is. Is anyone really surprised by this?
Academics from three separate universities have gathered three months worth of data from a large-scale, open-method investigation into torrent downloads. They are calling this “the largest examination of game piracy via P2P networks to date,” and it has found that 173 games were downloaded by a total of 12.6 million people during a period consisting of ninety days.
The paper, which you can find through the source link, claims that there is “very little objective information available about the magnitude of piracy,” going on to state that the ESA is “potentially biased, partially due to the interest of the industry to reduce piracy and thus potentially over-estimate the problem.”
That’s kind of like when your parents tell you they’re broke to make you feel guilty, while they actually are not, as you realise the next time they go on a shopping spree with money that could have been better spent. Or when Nintendo tells the world that they’re running out of Wii consoles, creating a demand that shouldn’t actually exist.
Anders Drachen of Aalborg University said that it was important to remember that despite the lack of objective data, game piracy does remain a key problem. “First and foremost, P2P game piracy is extraordinarily prevalent and geographically distributed,” he explained. “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, eg 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.”
I want to add my own opinion to this and discuss it further but I think that would undermine the finding of the study, somewhat. Although granted, the study does not seem to take news servers into account, but it’s still a decent reflection of P2P traffic so we’ll work with it. Doesn’t it make you wonder what else the games industry is lying to us about?