Video Game Piracy Downplayed In New Study


Video game piracy, as it happens, may not be the industry-killing disease many believe it to be. A recent joint study between Aalborg University’s Department of Communication and Psychology and the PLAIT Lab at Northeastern University shed light on the statistics of video game piracy in a three month period between 2010 and 2011.

The study revealed that a mere 12.6 million users accessed files for major releases like Call of Duty: Black Ops and Fallout: New Vegas. Furthermore, the ten most popular titles out of 173 games that the study tracked made up 43% of those files accessed, with about 77% of the traffic coming from just 20 countries.

Criteria like genres and critical reception also seemed to play a role, with RPGs being the most pirated at 18.9%, followed by action games at 16% and third-person shooters at 13%. Higher levels of piracy, the study claims, also occurred with games that received high Metacritic scores.

Concerning the distribution and rates of piracy, Aalborg University’s Anders Drachen stated:

“First and foremost, P2P game piracy is extraordinarily prevalent and geographically distributed [at least it was during the period analysed].”

However, Drachen notes how the piracy rates are not as damning as they may appear, saying:

“[T]he numbers in our investigation suggest that previously reported magnitudes in game piracy are too high. It also appears that some common myths are wrong, e.g. 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.”

Video game piracy as a whole will likely remain a hot topic for the foreseeable future, whether or not this study will impact the public’s views. However, given this new information, this does bode well for the industry’s ability to thrive in a healthy manner.

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