back to article Videogame piracy figures show decline

Videogame piracy may be in decline, according to a study investigating which games were illegally downloaded the most last year. The annual report from TorrentFreak sees Crysis 2 take the centre podium in the PC realm after it was illegally downloaded roughly 3.92 million times. Modern Warfare 3 was close behind, followed by its …

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Silver badge
FAIL

Nonsense figures again

Yet again, we see a host of nonsense figures. The software houses will be screaming out about lost revenue etc.etc. Is every download a lost sale......of course not. Have they correctly counted all the downloads.......only if they know about every copy of the game online, which absolutely will not be the case.

So, the reality is, these figures tell us absolutely nothing at all. They could be massively too high or massively too low. All we do know, is that we don't know. Until these nonsense figures stop being bandied around (both by individuals and companies) can the sensible debate start. Until then, it's just one side trying to scream louder than the other.

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Could not agree more

From the torrentfreak article.

"The data for these estimated download numbers is collected by TorrentFreak from several sources, including reports from all public BitTorrent trackers. "

What is it coming to when supposed journalists quote ESTIMATED numbers as fact. These figures have no source or methodology of collection documented, but are treated in the press as gospel. I won't even list the myriad ways that using bittorrent trackers is prone to giving completely erroneous statistics. I have seen this story being re-published all over the internet and not once did any of the tech journalists explain that these are estimates and the inherent inaccuracy in their potential collection method. For shame tech journalists.

They may as well be publishing the number of angels that could fit on the head of a needle, for all the good these stats are worth. Now these stats will be used by the industry as justification for more draconian DRM schemes that only hurt legitimate buyers like myself rather than the pirates, who could not care less.

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Anonymous Coward

Gives the lie to all those FAST, BSA et. al. statistics

The numbers of downloads listed by torrent freak are about comparable to the legitimate sales of the games. How come people pressing for stonger copyright laws are always claiming pirated versions outnumber legit versions ten or a hundred to one?

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FAIL

El-Reg promoting piracy again?

" Figures for pirated PS3 games were not included, as the platform sees considerably less torrent abuse, likely due to the ruthless nature of Sony's security protocols."

Sounds like you think that having a robust and secure console security policy is a BAD thing, as it means you can't download Warez...

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That's almost exactly the same wording as a similar article I've seen on a different site

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Anonymous Coward

Or maybe ...

freetards are using other channels than torrents ?

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Anonymous Coward

What about knocked off iPhone and Android software? Given the small sizes and ease of installation, what are the figures on portable platforms that half the planet is walking around with 24 hours a day rather than the huge media used on home based gaming platforms?

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Thumb Down

Origin? Hassle free? Origin is probably why Crysis 2 has the No 1 spot, and why Battlefield 3 is so high. A buggy, god-awful piece of software that should never have seen the light of day.

As for MW3, people probably couldn't see why they had to buy another copy of CoD4 for the 5th time.

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Bronze badge

Origin may suck, but Steam isnt much better

Took me 5 hours to get Steam to install when I bought Skyrim last month. Lost basically the entire first day of playing the game because Steam refuses to install over a Wireless network. Supposedly you can use port forwarding if your AP supports it, which my firmware does, but Steam still refused to go for it. I had to literally move my case across my apartment to where my cable modem is and directly plug it in to it, rendering the security I use on my network useless.

Basically from what I gathered on Steam's forums, my network and the client is too secure to use their service for activation. Which is horseshit if you ask me. I worked for the US Army Intelligence and Security Command during my time in the service, I like secure clients and networks. Im all for ending Piracy in gaming and in music but I seriously dislike compromising my PC for the 20 minutes it takes to install a game.

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Anonymous Coward

MW3 != COD4

MW3 is much much worse than CoD4. It has been 'console-ized' beyond any recognition.

CoD4 remains the best CoD version ever produced, one of the best FPS of all times. Still very much alive on many servers around the world.

Anything else is not worth the money, so I can see why people would prefer to d/l before spending the cash.

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Anonymous Coward

"because Steam refuses to install over a Wireless network"

This is absolutely not true.

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Mushroom

Uh-huh. Sure.

You say so, and yet you give absolutely no evidence to support your claim. And tell me, just how do you know that what Im saying "is absolutely not true"? Were you sitting here with me while I was trying to install Skyrim and getting increasingly frustrated with it? Do you know my configuration on either my OS or my network?

I think not.

You could be helpful and tell us how you managed to do it, if you indeed did it on wireless, instead of saying "This is absolutely not true" while not supporting the statement with any evidence at all. After a cursory search wading through a bunch of technical dolts complaining about their games not working while not helping other people help them, I didn't find anything helpful out there. Granted, I do use a rather exotic security configuration and that may have everything to do with it. Ive had other DRM programs throw a fit over my configuration before until I figured out how to coax them into working. No other DRM scheme wasted more of my time than Steam though.

As I said, I dont like Piracy and Im more than happy to use whatever DRM scheme out there as long as it lets me use whatever the hell I bought without pissing me off. After I finally installed it, it worked just fine and continues to, but the install and activation process was ridiculous.

I did what the forums for both my Firmware distribution (DD-WRT, if you must know) as well as Steam itsself said to try, and it didnt work. Didnt work plugged into one of the wired ports on the router either. As I said, I had to directly plug in to the Cable Modem which was a major annoyance. So please enlighten us with how to do it on Wireless. It may be helpful for those of us who run into the same issue.

Steam itsself says that you shouldn't use Wireless networking for gaming because it limits your bandwidth, which is complete crap. I play an instanced online game from Cryptic Studios over my wireless nearly every day and Ive never had an issue with speed or lag unless it was on the Server side.

Im not trying to be hostile, but it seems like you're trolling for the sake of being a pain in the ass.

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FAIL

@FrankAlphaXII

You had a software firewall blocking traffic from the client, probably the built-in Windows one. When you moved to another port (wired instead of wireless) you probably switched from public to private or vice versa, therefore opening traffic or at least giving you the opportunity to respond. Too bad you blocked it or blocked everything at some point in the past and never thought to check and disable the block. Sucks for your lost day, paranoia defeats usability once again.

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Bronze badge

COD MW3 sold 6.5 million copies in the first 24 hours.

It went on to gross $1 billion throughout the world in 16 days of availability.

Of Baltlefield 3: Electronic Arts stated that the title sold 5 million units within the first week of availability, easily becoming its fastest-selling game.

As of April 2011, Super Mario Galaxy 2 had sold 6.36 million copies worldwide.

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Anonymous Coward

steam = crap

"The Steam client in particular broke the 5m concurrent user mark this week, a sign that an increasing number of people are turning to such platforms to amass content. Whether that directly affects piracy remains to be seen."

Stream is teh biggest pile of shit I have ever come across, it installs it's own lump of spyware that is in constant communication with the stream servers, that is always in memory, slowing down my PC and constantly using my capped broadband connection.

The steam software does affect piracy, I cant think of any better reason to pirate a game other than to keep this crap off my PC.

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Gold badge
Facepalm

"....that is always in memory, slowing down my PC and constantly using my capped broadband connection."

You've not thought to uncheck the "load on startup" box or right-click the tray icon and hit "Exit" then?

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Anonymous Coward

No...

No, install game, agree to contract, no options, nothing, make several attempts to connect to steam, fail, install game, agree to contract, no options, nothing, make several attempts to connect to steam, fail, install game, agree to contract, no options, nothing, make several attempts to connect to steam, eventually get the game registered, reboot, wonder why PC is taking so long to reboot, 8,000 packets sent to steam, reject offer to download demos, do some work, reject offer to download demos, kill process, try game later, won't run, steam not running, re-boot, reject offer to download demos, play game, monentary loss of internet connection, game play stopped, reject offer to download demos, re-boot, delete game and steam, reboot, download from pirate site, install pirate version of game using original key - 1 problem solved.

never buy game that uses steam ever again - 2 problems solved.

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Windows

I like Steam

It does load on Startup (which you can disable) and can have problems shutting down as it finishes its 'sync' but if you 'exit' then that not a issue.

apart from that no major issues. Loads of cheap games and bundles. Happy days

Still not as easy as it is to torrent a copy but in all fairness somebody needs to get paid something

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Silver badge
FAIL

Or

Buy steam game -play steam game - prob 1 solved

Updates instamatically - game crippling bug goes away with no intervention - problem 2 solved

Want to play years later but lost cd - no problemo.

Oh, and dobt get your net cutoff for piracy.

Buy Steam, solve 4 problems!

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FAIL

Pirate BF3? Why bother?

I assume you still can't play online with a pirated copy and the single player game is forgettable and not very interesting. The multiplayer action makes BF3 (it's kinda the whole point) so why miss out?

Anyway, things like Steam sales (or pick your discounted content delivery option of choice) makes pirating a game difficult to justify these days. I bought LIMBO for about £3 and it lasted much long than the pint i drank whilst playing it. It's not just short indy games either. OF:RR was about £5 at some point.

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Anonymous Coward

woohoo... another round of freetard/paytard flame wars !!

the games/music/film industry invite "piracy" by producing so much shite and robbing the consumer in the first place....

I strongly subscribe to the opinion of try before you buy. If demmos were more freely available and actually were representative of the final product then the games industry would have no option but to produce higher quality games.

if computer/games magazines were not so biased you could at least get reviews that were reflective of the actual game instead of brown nosing to the games houses.

due to disabilities, I cant get out to the cinema to watch films, so I have invested a bucket load of money in my own home theatre system, and to be fair, a large collection of films on Blu-ray/dvd (probably worth more than the TV LOL)....,and do I have a real bad film in that collection? well in my opinion... no.. why? because for the majority of film, I will download a dvd rip from my favourite file-host and if I enjoy the film,I go out and buy it. some films I haven't watched again since, but principles are principles, if I enjoyed it, I should pay for it. I have gotta say though, in the last 6 months, I haven't purchased much....

the same principle goes for computer games, I will buy it if its good.... I have a collection of about 20 games for the wii that the family play regularly, there have been about 10 games that If I had actually purchased, I would have been a little more than annoyed. As far as loosing sales, I would probably say I have bought more games than I would have otherwise done because the bulk of games for the wii are very poor, how many games would you buy hoping the next one is going to be better?

you could argue its about who robs who first!!

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Stop

@AC - 17:07

"the games/music/film industry invite "piracy" by producing so much shite and robbing the consumer in the first place...."

Really? While I agree that there's a load of crap being peddled in the entertainment industry at the mo, to claim that it's "inviting" piracy is somewhat ridiculous. This is like saying that poeple are more likely to steal groceries from Farmfoods because the quality isn't as good as Waitrose.

There are all manner of ways you can try games and see movies before you buy. A number of outlets provide a rental service that delivers to your door - LoveFilm, for example, will bung you unlimited streams and films/DVDs* for less than a tenner a month. Got to be better than piracy.

Either way you look at it, piracy is theft. Most of us have done it (probably) and it'll never go away. But there's no such thing as a valid excuse.

*Yep, you can only have 2 physical discs at any one time, but the principle remains.

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Holmes

"This is like saying that people are more likely to steal groceries from Farmfoods because the quality isn't as good as Waitrose."

I would love to see the actual figures from both shops on losses due to theft....

both shops will have losses, but I would be a £1 to a penny that your average chavy type person walking into Waitrose will attract the attention of the store detectives and while they will have no opportunity to stuff a pocket full of anything, the person looking like Richard Madly will walk out with a few bottles of wine under the radar.....

my guess would be that farmfoods has a higher loss in quantity of items, but waitrose will probably be very close if not higer in actual value !!

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Anonymous Coward

"A number of outlets provide a rental service that delivers to your door - LoveFilm, for example, will bung you unlimited streams and films/DVDs* for less than a tenner a month. Got to be better than piracy."

I have in the past had a love film subscription service, getting out to post dvd's back was sometimes an issue (dont forget my mobility issues). I also had the on demand service (built into my TV) from love film, but In all honesty, the amount of movies that have even been of interest to lately to watch has been very low and the subscription service for several months was not even used....

its not even about the amount of money, its just the principle that if they actually receive money back in any way shape or form that covers the cost and puts it into profit to produce the rubbish they will carry on producing garbage.

these days, one of the best value for money releases is when a movie is released in 3D. You get the 3d blu-ray movie, the normal blu-ray movie, the DVD of the movie and a digital copy, all for a reasonable price. it save the effort of having to rip and make my own cross format copies which is still piracy (and against the law in the USA via the digital millennium act)

there is no way you will change the mind of people whichever side of the fence they sit on, or not that they would admit anyway. I believe I am morally right in what I do, even if it does transcend the law...

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Silver badge
Facepalm

Would love to see this cross referenced

With the amount spent on DRM on those titles...

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Bronze badge

So if DRM works....

If DRM works, then why would millions of people torrent software which they presumably can't use?

If the people who torrent said software can use it inspite of the DRM, then what's the point of the DRM ?

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Anonymous Coward

Gears of War 30?

I have a lot of gaming to catch up on...

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So...

To AC above:

So you go out and buy films if you like them, after downloading and watching them for free. Earlier you said your disability stops you getting out to the cinema to watch (and pay for) films.

All the best with finding a cure for freetarditis x

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Anonymous Coward

I've heard there are ways of buying things using the computermachine

Apparently they bring the stuff to your door and you don't even have to leave your seat to do it.

Presumably these were just rumours, and Amazon/Netflix/LoveFilm/Tesco Direct/Asda Online etc don't really exist.

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Boffin

I have another possible factor/explanation

In this "harsh economic climate" / "global economic clusterfuxplosion", whilst your average dedicated pirate would be pirating all the latest videogame shiny come economic rain or shine, whats the point if you're too sodding broke to afford the hardware to run them at the shiny shiny settings? Might as well direct the bandwidth so your preferred mp3/movie/gentleman's interest trackers.

Just my 2 pennies.

As for me I'm not even gonna give the spec of my rig, lest you suffer a laughter induced hernia. Suffice to say I run a handfull of very cheaply legally aquired borderline retro titles. Serious Sam, UT2004, F.E.A.R. and the like.

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Online?

Err, hang on, CoD:MW and BF3 are online only pretty much. Are there cracks for these to let you play on any online server? If not, all the downloads for those titles do not indicate a lost sale for a start and should be ignored. In fact, they should probably count the other way as proof that people who own things legally still download pirate copies to avoid having DRMed versions of games you own (eg the RAZOR1911 crack for BF3 to let legit owners not have to use Origin).

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Thumb Up

Good point

I had to crack my legit F.E.A.R just to run the bloody thing, after it smeared SecuROM shite all over the walls of my digital home. I cracked my Quake 2 just so I could play CDs of my choice. I was looking forward to Bioshock until they lost a sale to me *because* of DRM.

Now I avoid DRM like the plague, though I don't mind Steam as that seems more civilised and doesn't involve arsing about with original media.

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Stop

So stop making shit overpriced games

You can count me in for contributing to number one. Having had my fingers burned recently with a few terrible game purchases, I decided to download a torrent of Crysis 2 to see if it was worth buying. An hour into it I quit and uninstalled. Far from being a a purchase lost, they lost a purchase gained (if you see what I mean)

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Anonymous Coward

Just keep sending the pirates to prison

It's a lot smarter to pay for games and other digital rights than to go to prison. For those too dumb to understand, just keep shipping them off to prison.

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Trollface

You must be new here

You seem entirely confused about what punishments pirates can receive in Western nations.

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Anonymous Coward

Denial as a defense

Denial as a legal defense for piracy is zero percent effective.

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Pirate

Good law

People here seem to haev forgotton the basic principles of law and order. Firstly, a good law has to be enforceable. Having an unenforceable law on the statute books is both pointless and simply complicates the matter. Another feature of a good law is simplicity. The law in this area passes the second test (in that it says copying without permission regardless of reason), but fails the first test in that it is effectively unenforceable. Yes, some people have been prosecuted, but it's a tiny, tiny fraction (even smaller if you believe the companies) and therefore effectively zero.

Another point of a good law is to act as a deterrant to people breaking it. Clearly, it has failed in this area too. The other aspect that is always missed, is that a law is supposed to enforce what society sees as a reasonable moral code. That's why murder is illegal.............almost everyone finds it morally wrong and it impacts other people. Now, as with most things, morality is a moving target and if societies morals (on average) change to move things from the bad to good (or vice versa) categories, laws should move with them. Given the companies claimed figures around people pirating software, games etc., it could well be argued that societies morals have moved to find this acceptable, at least to a very large number, even if it isn't a majority. Therefore, the validity of the law should be called into question.

Of course, what has to be remembered is that morality changes for a variety of reason, including how companies treat their customers, competitors etc. if you treat your customers badly (and many would claim that's exactly what these companies have been doing), their customers morals would tend to change and therefore maybe the law should as well.

Of course, the above fails miserably when you realise the law is not there to enforce a fair or morally (as most see it) correct society, but simply to benefit the top few percent of society, exactly the same people who own these companies. That's why moral changes so rarely result in changes to the law when those changes would impact on the companies or top few percent. Until we get back to a more equitable society with laws based on the needs of the masses rather than the few, the divide between the top and bottom of soctiey will continue to grow and so will the lawlessness. It's directly cause and effect.

The copyright holders tend to be at the top and generally are using the people at the bottom.

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WTF?

"popularity"

"The Steam client in particular broke the 5m concurrent user mark this week, a sign that an increasing number of people are turning to such platforms to amass content."

Nobody "turns" to Steam, they are shoved into it. 4.9 million of those users had never heard of Steam until it was forced on them by a game they had "purchased". 4.8 million of them would uninstall Steam and never go near it again if they had any other choice besides not playing "their" games.

*I will keep my the statistical methodology I used to calculate those numers to myself, thanks in advance for not asking.

**Some people seem to just love Steam. I assume they are shills by the way they crowd into any forum that mentions Steam, but will admit the possibility some of them may be authentic. So maybe not quite everyone who has Steam imposed on them would rather get out.

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