TorrentFreak Reveals Top Pirated Games of 2011

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The Plunk:

Mike Kayatta:

The Plunk:
This confirms my suspicions that most people pirate games because they want to know if their computers can run it before they buy it. Why else would Crysis 2 be the most pirated?

Also, it would interesting to know how many times Witcher 2 was actually pirated.

Do you have any evidence to back up this statement or are you just making it up?

I'm just making it up. All (conservatively) 100 million copies of various games illegally downloaded last year were all for demo purposes. Every single person who downloaded them promptly quit after playing thirty minutes, deleted the file, and purchased the game legitimately. Not even one person was interested in a game, but chose to downloaded it off BitTorrent instead of buying it. There's no way the industry lost even a dollar off of this legitimate and wholesome practice, so yeah, I'm making it up. Ya got me!

That's not the part I called you out on. I wanted you to back up your statement that 2011 was a year of massive loss for the industry, and that that loss was caused by piracy and not by, oh I don't know, THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISIS.

I'm sorry, I failed to read the obviously implied "and that that loss was caused by piracy and not by, oh I don't know, THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISIS" when you wrote "Do you have any evidence to back up this statement." Won't happen again.

Noble_Lance:
Can someone quote me and explain how you pirate a Wii, Xbox, PS3 game? I understand the ability to pirate a PC game to a PC but I'm confused about the others.

I'm not sure how it's done this gen but last gen you would have to put a chip in your ps2 and that would allow you to use imports and games you downloaded.
I hate to say it but this article makes pirating on the ps3 sound like fun: it's all done directly? Not that I personally would condone anything illegal but I have to admit I'm curious about how it works.
It's surprising that the numbers aren't higher on the ps3, it's not like we can expect any big and awesome updates to the firmware from Sony. The last big update was just to make the vita dock with it properly.

Sober Thal:
Billions of dollars worth of product distributed that wasn't payed for.

Yes, that is a loss. Damn asshats.

You don't really think that all those people who pirated it would have really bought their own copy if pirating wasn't possible, do you? If pirating wasn't possible, the shoplifting numbers would just go back up.

saregos:

Mike Kayatta:

saregos:

Pirated games
1) Provide a try-before-you-buy opportunity. I.e. the ability to try that $60 game before you make a $60 commitment.
2) Tend not to have the unskippable "this company made this game!" crap at the beginning.
3) Aren't as restricted (DRM and install limit wise)
4) In some cases, provide additional features. For example, LAN play or local multiplayer.

Purchased games
1) Treat you like a criminal.

So... which product would you prefer to have?

Yes, aren't they great!? We don't have to read about the thousands of people who labored for years to make something! We don't have to pay! We get unlimited demos! OF COURSE this is better; who wouldn't want this superior product? You've completely made me rethink my position. If only I'd considered how totally awesome it is to take someone's product from them and alter it however you'd like without paying them for it before writing this article! Games are like some sort of magical fruit that the universe randomly blips into creation. We should be free to take them and enjoy them whenever and however we want because clearly the universe will just magically continue to create more of them for us to take. And you know why? Because we're entitled to them. Never forget that!

Uh... what? Did you read anything I said? Or are you just going to attack me (and a pretty little straw-man you set up for the purpose) for disagreeing with you?

Once more - Pirates currently provide a better product. Because they're more in-tune with what the customer wants. So maybe, instead of attacking the pirates (and while you're at it, anyone who disagrees with you, or points out flaws in your reasoning) you should concentrate on how to make the legitimate product better than the pirated one?

But no, instead you'll completely misinterpret everything I said. I would have expected better, but that's all too common.

Enjoy your high horse. But it's attitudes precisely like yours that drive piracy in the first place.

By the way, thanks so much for editing out the part where I pointed out that this is a failure in customer service. Probably because you can't address that?

Whoops, sorry. When you said: "Tend not to have the unskippable 'this company made this game!' crap at the beginning," I thought you meant you didn't want to see the logos of those who made the games. When you said: "Aren't as restricted (DRM and install limit wise)" and "In some cases, provide additional features. For example, LAN play or local multiplayer," I thought you meant that you wanted altered versions of people's products. When you said: "Provide a try-before-you-buy opportunity. I.e. the ability to try that $60 game before you make a $60 commitment," I thought you meant taking someone's product without paying them. Sorry, I guess I really did misinterpret you, huh. Won't happen again.

And since I want to stop "driving people to piracy" with my attitude, I suppose I'll start advocating the practice in order to quell it ... because that makes sense. Thanks for the tip. Either way, I've got to stop replying to comments and get back to my high horse. He's likely got the munchies by now.

Noble_Lance:
Can someone quote me and explain how you pirate a Wii, Xbox, PS3 game?

Generally it involves installing custom/hacked firmware on the console (known as softmodding) that disables the console's inbuilt DRM. Once that's done you can either play burnt discs or run games from flashdrives, depending on the console in question.

The big downside to that (legality and morality aside) is all console online services scan for said altered firmware (and so on) and ban modded consoles they detect, so going online with them is a definite risk, especially if you like your online services.

That's about as deep an explanation as you'll get here as going into further detail is begging for modwrath.

GonzoGamer:

Sober Thal:
Billions of dollars worth of product distributed that wasn't payed for.

Yes, that is a loss. Damn asshats.

You don't really think that all those people who pirated it would have really bought their own copy if pirating wasn't possible, do you? If pirating wasn't possible, the shoplifting numbers would just go back up.

It's still a loss... it just isn't 'lost sales' it's the far more nebulous concept of 'devaluation of IP'... which means the potential earnings/worth of the IP have been lowered rather than the loss of actual money.

The problem is that if you tried to explain to the layman about how an IP's value is estimated and consequently how it gains and loses value, most would say "Ugh, shut up, you're making my head hurt." That, and if they wrapped their heads fully around how things have their value estimated by corporations (it breaks down to being 'educated guesswork') they'd never take corporations seriously again... this is not a bad thing but corporations don't like it. Remember, these are the sorts of people who call making a profit that wasn't as big as their projected profit a 'loss'.

I'm not biased for/against pirating, both have valid argument and no amount of internet raging is going to stop people from doing it.

But... those statistics are wrong.

First, like so many people have already said, for most pirates its not a choice between buy or pirate. Its more like, pirate or drop it. So the $42m value is off by quite a bit.

On another note, there are a hell of a lot of countries where copyright laws are non-existent, and I'm not talking about China, they at least deal with some of it. It is the whole of the middle-east, Africa (minus South africa? not sure), a lot of Asia and I'm not too sure about south america. In these countries you will not find a legal copy of a game, they do not exist. At all.

Game shops in these countries are all pirates, so they download one copy of the game, and then burn on to ~20 CDs. So essentially, the numbers you see above are off by quite a bit.

If these big game companies want to increase their revenues by cutting down on pirating, the smartest move would be to try and ship legal games to these other countries or get copyright laws into these countries indirectly. I'm currently in Libya and I know a lot of gamers that would love to support the developers of their favourite games.

Currently in Libya the only legal games you can buy are ps3 games, and they sell them for rip off prices, the cheapest you'll find is about the equivalent of £40, and the most expensive (e.g MW3) for £125. If I was faced with that choice, I think I'd pirate(which I'm not, 3 cheers for steam!). (the stated prices are before the revolution and everything tripled in price)

Sorry for the wall of text....

The Plunk:
This confirms my suspicions that most people pirate games because they want to know if their computers can run it before they buy it. Why else would Crysis 2 be the most pirated?

Because people want to play the game and not pay for it.
Also, I remember Crysis 2 having a demo. That told me I could run the game without doing anything that a court of law would consider illegal.

saregos:

Mike Kayatta:

saregos:

snip

snip

snip

Saregos, you are 100% right. Not being able to install a game you just bought at a local game store is the must frustrating thing in that world.

OT: Companies need to look at piracy not as a threat to be squashed but as a competitor who not only is more convenient for there main customer base but also deals all over the world in places where games are extremely hard to come by.

Mike Kayatta:

The Plunk:

Mike Kayatta:

I'm just making it up. All (conservatively) 100 million copies of various games illegally downloaded last year were all for demo purposes. Every single person who downloaded them promptly quit after playing thirty minutes, deleted the file, and purchased the game legitimately. Not even one person was interested in a game, but chose to downloaded it off BitTorrent instead of buying it. There's no way the industry lost even a dollar off of this legitimate and wholesome practice, so yeah, I'm making it up. Ya got me!

That's not the part I called you out on. I wanted you to back up your statement that 2011 was a year of massive loss for the industry, and that that loss was caused by piracy and not by, oh I don't know, THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISIS.

I'm sorry, I failed to read the obviously implied "and that that loss was caused by piracy and not by, oh I don't know, THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISIS" when you wrote "Do you have any evidence to back up this statement." Won't happen again.

You still haven't given any evidence to back up your statement of

The industry faces yet another year of massive loss

because it's not true, as most sources like this say that the game industry continues to grow. So it's really just sensationalist bullshit.

RhombusHatesYou:

GonzoGamer:

Sober Thal:
Billions of dollars worth of product distributed that wasn't payed for.

Yes, that is a loss. Damn asshats.

You don't really think that all those people who pirated it would have really bought their own copy if pirating wasn't possible, do you? If pirating wasn't possible, the shoplifting numbers would just go back up.

It's still a loss... it just isn't 'lost sales' it's the far more nebulous concept of 'devaluation of IP'... which means the potential earnings/worth of the IP have been lowered rather than the loss of actual money.

The problem is that if you tried to explain to the layman about how an IP's value is estimated and consequently how it gains and loses value, most would say "Ugh, shut up, you're making my head hurt." That, and if they wrapped their heads fully around how things have their value estimated by corporations (it breaks down to being 'educated guesswork') they'd never take corporations seriously again... this is not a bad thing but corporations don't like it. Remember, these are the sorts of people who call making a profit that wasn't as big as their projected profit a 'loss'.

Definitely, they have to do that, if just for tax reasons. I understand why it's officially a loss.
However it's weird that they use it to try and guilt legitimate consumers with the data. My point was that it's not money that they would otherwise realistically be making.

"The industry faces yet another year of massive loss while gamers pilfer more than a billion dollars worth of virtual goods."

*sighs* I am disappointed escapist.. Thats the view of a 10 year old, EA, Ubisoft, and Holywood.

edit: I apologize to the 10 year olds.

Most people who pirate arn't actually willing to fork out cash for the games they pirate, so a pirated game is most definitely not a lost sale.

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

Until they document how they have come up with these numbers and what methodology they have used, I call bullsh!t on these numbers.

How have they checked that each of the tracked downloads is not just the number of IP's that have taken part in the swarm at one point. How have they checked that each IP counted has downloaded a complete copy which could be run. How have they checked that there are not lots of replications of the same download because people's IP address change due to ISP address being dynamically handed out on different days. How have they checked that each torrent they have collected stats from is actually a valid copy of the game and not just some rubbish. How are they checking that the stats they get from one tracker is not also appearing in another tracker since different trackers share info. Until these questions are answered no-one should put any faith in these ESTIMATES which have no margin of error listed.

Also if you pirate BF3 and MW3, doesn't that mean you only get access to 1/4 of the game, i.e only the single player part. Therefore each download of those games can only be attributed to at most a loss of 1/4 of the price of the game new.

These estimates will now be repeated by everyone as fact when they may not have any basis in reality. In the same way that the total estimate made by the Witcher 2 maker keeps being repeated as fact. I would have been slightly more believing if Witcher 2 had appeared on the list with numbers that tallied with the estimate made before.

These estimates will be used as the reasons why more hash DRM will be rolled out. DRM that will only annoy the people who actually always buy the games (like me) rather than the pirates who never have to worry about it. Shame on this article....

I pirated Metro 2033, when I saw I was enjoying it, I entered Steam and bought it cause the developers do deserve to get the cash for such a great game, and it would be inmoral not to do so. Same think done with Deus Ex: Human Revolution, I wasn't expecting much but seeing it was actually quite awesome, bought it too.

I also downloaded Far Cry 2 some time ago, I wanted to try if I liked the gameplay, as I wasn't entirely sure the sandbox shooter scheme they chose was going to be functional. If I had spent 60€ in such a shitty game, I would hate myself and Ubi. I played like two hours, then trashed it, not only it wasn't worth the price, it wasn't even worth the time.

I bought Skyrim for Xbox 360 cause my computer can't run it on good detail. Then I got a pirated PC version just to mess around with mods and console commands.

These are a few examples where the game downloaded is not a sell lost. Well, maybe a sell lost for Far Cry 2, but it would have been a misguided, horrible sell.

*sniffs* Smells like butthurt capitalism in here.

1. Not every download is a lost sale
2. The industry isn't hurting. At all.
3. And looking at the lists posted... I wouldn't pay for those shit games either.

The Plunk:

Mike Kayatta:

The Plunk:

That's not the part I called you out on. I wanted you to back up your statement that 2011 was a year of massive loss for the industry, and that that loss was caused by piracy and not by, oh I don't know, THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISIS.

I'm sorry, I failed to read the obviously implied "and that that loss was caused by piracy and not by, oh I don't know, THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISIS" when you wrote "Do you have any evidence to back up this statement." Won't happen again.

You still haven't given any evidence to back up your statement of

The industry faces yet another year of massive loss

because it's not true, as most sources like this say that the game industry continues to grow. So it's really just sensationalist bullshit.

Protip... there's more than one definition of "massive loss" in this context.

You're insisting that he's talking about the games industry suffering major financial loss, when he's obviously talking about massive sales loss.

The evidence is the article. You don't have your games pirated dozens of millions of times without losing enormous amounts of potential revenue, end of. And whether or not the industry is still growing, it could have grown much more without pirates existing, end of.

Mike Kayatta:

Irridium:
People pirated Crysis 2 the most?

...

Why?

I think that Crysis is known as a bit of a benchmark, so many people likely downloaded it to see how it would run on their rigs.

If you were to read TFA, it probably has more to do with Crysis 2 being released more than a month before via torrents, with the usual drama, the Dev lying and saying that it was a beta version, blaiming piracy for all the evils in the world, etc.

Also, both the linked article and your title (and the one used to link it on /. ) are very missleading. What they messured was not the "Top 10 Most Pirated Games of 2011" at all, but an estimate of the times a game was downloaded via a public torrent tracking site, no more or less, and theres a freaking huge difference; I don't know how piracy operates in the rest of the world but in Latin America if you were to do a serious game piracy study you would come to realize that most of the PC pirates indeed download from the sites, but most of the console pirates buy actual video game discs from pirate video game sellers. That's what sometimes grinds my gears, the average publisher will cry about piracy in the PC and say that it forces them to move their focus to the consoles, but the numbers liked led me to belive that piracy is in the same league on the Xbox and Wii, of course with no studies it's all speculation.

The one thing that makes me sad is that CoD MW3 is somehow still topping lists. Well, at the very least, people actually BOUGHT Skyrim and are giving Bethesda money for their hard work.

Also, Pirates of the Caribbean? Jeez, this either shows Wii pirates are uncreative, or that the Wii really is a failure of a console.

ThunderCavalier:
The one thing that makes me sad is that CoD MW3 is somehow still topping lists. Well, at the very least, people actually BOUGHT Skyrim and are giving Bethesda money for their hard work.

Also, Pirates of the Caribbean? Jeez, this either shows Wii pirates are uncreative, or that the Wii really is a failure of a console.

Yeah, it is sad that MW3 is topping the charts but even more sad that Skyrim is selling like it is in the condition the game is in. The vast amount of bugs and general unplayability of the game is sickening. And this is coming from someone who did pay for Skyrim brand new.

As for the Wii being a failure of a console?

hahaohwow.jpg

Mike Kayatta:

Irridium:
People pirated Crysis 2 the most?

...

Why?

Also, do they have numbers for how much Witcher 2 was pirated? I believe pretty much everyone, including the developers, thought that it was 4.5 million or more. Would be nice to know the actual area of the numbers. Since it's obviously not that much, otherwise it'd be on the list.

I think that Crysis is known as a bit of a benchmark, so many people likely downloaded it to see how it would run on their rigs. Notice that the console version of game wasn't on the top five of the other list. That may point to a PC-specific reason deeper than gamers just "wanting that game the most." That's just my personal speculation, though.

Id like to think that, but considering the support the community gave to crytek by NOT downloading the leaked version BEFORE realizing that crytek had lied, and sold out to the console market, and ported it over to the pc with a lack of basic graphic options and implementations that were present in the previous crysis titles... yeah i prob think that is the more likely reason for the high number of illegally downloaded copies. If anything game developers / publishers should see this as a reason to not screw over your fan base... Battlefield 3 - origin and battlelog crap that no one asked for, or wanted, MW3 lack of ranked dedicated servers again, after the dent in sales it caused from mw2...

Heh 3. Xenoblade Chronicles (950,000)

I wonder how many people imported it vs pirated.

[sarcasm]Oh don't worry I'm sure those were all one person re-downloading them several (million) times to test them and they bought them all legit afterwards.[/sarcasm]

And as far as I can tell, this doesn't include the many pirated games sold on disc in places where the "official" copy is hard to get. In Brazil, for instance, you can buy pirated Xbox 360 discs in plastic sleeves for much less than the full product. Of course, that's harder to clamp down on, but game devs could perhaps make more money in markets like that with better pricing.

rolfwesselius:
either you refuse to acknowledge that much of the pc gaming scene has become a festering pit of pirates pirating everything they have a remote interest in playing and ruining the name of good pc gamers hell considering the circumstances (the shitty economy) there were precious few tragedies like crysis this year
so now please think before saying developers are whining about piracy on pc and using it as a reason to not develop for it because they arent its a sad sorry state for all pc gamers developers and publishers.

I'm pointing out that their so called "safe bubble" of console games are not so safe against pirates when compared to PC games. Sure the statistics show that PC games get pirated more than consoles, but the console games are *still* getting pirated--as I pointed out with a KINECT game. I don't think there are any good emulators for current generation consoles yet, so that means if a person downloaded a pirated KINECT game, they could only play it on a JAILBROKEN Xbox 360 console.

Piracy numbers like those make developers/publishers wary of working on the PC, so they may hold back on it for awhile (which may happened for "Arkham City", "Bastion", and "Alan Wake") so they could get a few sales on the CONSOLES before releasing them on the PC. The developer for the "Puzzle Quest" games released their games first on the Nintendo DS and PSP before the PC since they could maximize their profit that way. But that is a foolish fantasy for developers/publishers to think their game is safe from pirates if they release it as a console exclusive while neglecting PC gamers.

GonzoGamer:

You don't really think that all those people who pirated it would have really bought their own copy if pirating wasn't possible, do you? If pirating wasn't possible, the shoplifting numbers would just go back up.

How exactly would you shoplift a video game? They don't keep the games in the cases.

You'd have to like...rob the store at gunpoint.

GonzoGamer:
However it's weird that they use it to try and guilt legitimate consumers with the data.

Let's be honest here, in most cases they aren't trying to guilt legitimate consumers.

The only time we hear publishers or devs pull out numbers for piracy or whatever 'evil' they're against, it's usually to support one of their 'fuck you, legitimate consumer' actions such as draconian DRM or online passes. That's not guilting the legitimate user that's saying "Shut the fuck up, none of you can be trusted."

My point was that it's not money that they would otherwise realistically be making.

This is corporate finance, reality isn't a frequent visitor and perception is king. That makes losing potential money just as bad as losing real money when you have to explain it to all your stakeholders and shareholders.

Irridium:
People pirated Crysis 2 the most?

...

Why?

Also, do they have numbers for how much Witcher 2 was pirated? I believe pretty much everyone, including the developers, thought that it was 4.5 million or more. Would be nice to know the actual area of the numbers. Since it's obviously not that much, otherwise it'd be on the list.

That was a rough estimate, made up on the spot, thrown out by one of the developers when asked about piracy.

Of course, websites like the Escapist just love it when something like that happens, and proceeded to throw around articles like "WITCHER 2 DEV SAYS WITCHER GAME PIRATED 4.5 MILLION TIMES!!!!!!!" even though its bullshit, CDProjekt said it was bullshit, and the escapist knows its bullshit.

ph0b0s123:
Until they document how they have come up with these numbers and what methodology they have used, I call bullsh!t on these numbers.

Even with their base numbers and methodology known, the numbers will be more or less useless. Public torrent trackers aren't the only source of pirated software, especially when it comes to consoles... and once you leave the public trackers info gets very hard to find.

Also if you pirate BF3 and MW3, doesn't that mean you only get access to 1/4 of the game, i.e only the single player part. Therefore each download of those games can only be attributed to at most a loss of 1/4 of the price of the game new.

Yes and no... MP cracks and private server cracks don't take long to show up but they're rarely fully functional.

These estimates will now be repeated by everyone as fact when they may not have any basis in reality. In the same way that the total estimate made by the Witcher 2 maker keeps being repeated as fact. I would have been slightly more believing if Witcher 2 had appeared on the list with numbers that tallied with the estimate made before.

The funny thing is in the article the original number came from it's shown to be just a very rough estimate based on a lot of guesswork.

These estimates will be used as the reasons why more hash DRM will be rolled out. DRM that will only annoy the people who actually always buy the games (like me) rather than the pirates who never have to worry about it.

DRM isn't about stopping piracy, it's about being seen to take strong measures against piracy so your stakeholders don't sue the crap out of you for not taking sufficient steps to safeguard their investment.

don't know if Xenoblade should count, since pirating and import (which requires a modded Wii to play i think) where the only options until recently.

*shrugs* sad thing is a can't bring my self to care, sure the company's lost money, but i doubt is as much as they say though since no one can prove that 1 pirated game = 1 lost sale, there's to many other things to factor in, like the guy who wants to demo it cause there's no legit demo, the guy who want to see if it will even run on his rig (which is probably why Crysis 2 is so high on the list)

not saying ever one dose that, there's always going to be thieves, but I'm willing to bet there's more people that download with intent to buy, then anyone's willing to acknowledge.

I'm amazed at how many people are amazed at the size of the numbers. 4 million isn't big.

WhiteTigerShiro:
So the Escapist hires trolls to do articles now? Nice how we can't reply to an article without the poster being a total asshat about his replies.

Quoted for truth.

The lack of professionalism displayed by the authour of this piece is astonishing. When your 'journalists' act with such immaturity it's perhaps time to rethink your vetting policies, Escapist.

What I hope this puts to rest is the stupid argument that "only PC games are pirated".

Also wasn't The Witcher 2 meant to have been pirated some millions of times?

OMFG!!!!111!!!!! OH NOEZ PIRACY IS RUINING THE INDUSTRY. I CAN'T AFFORD ANOTHER GULF STREAM JET FOR MY FAMILY

Those numbers are complete sensationalist bullshit.

Break those numbers down by downloads in countries that actually have copyright laws, then further down into where they games actually ship and are legal to sell.

Then get back to me with the results and I might feel bad for the industry... Wait... No I won't because a video game just surpassed any sales numbers of any media across all platforms of media ever in less then 90 days of release. So no.. the industry is NOT suffering.

Geezus not this again.

Copyright violation is not theft. If you are going for emotional impact you might as well say "downloading is baby rape" or puppy stomping or something equally vile because both of those are as close to copyright violation as theft is.

Mike Kayatta:
I'm just making it up.

Yes you are. And trolling this crap every few days helps the page views but it does nothing to forward the discussion. Stop pretending download numbers are at all relevant. They mean nothing. They are a function of the popularity of the product, not of anything else.

It wouldn't be fair to say that every pirated copy represents a lost sale, but it would be equally unfair to say that every copy didn't.

Wrong, it would be perfectly fair to say that downloading isn't a loss. Does the industry count someone looking at a game in the shop and not buying it as a loss? If so they are insane. There is no fundamental difference between not buying a game because it is downloaded and not buying it because of any other reason.

The "true pirate" downloader is someone who never intends to buy. If the game isn't available for download they will rent, borrow from a friend, buy used (and probably return the next day), or do without. At no time is the "pirate's" money ever in danger of being given to the publisher.

But on the other hand here is evidence that shows the people who download music are also the biggest customers.
http://arstechnica.com/old/content/2006/03/6418.ars
http://www.michaelgeist.ca/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1168

Where is your evidence that disputes this is true for games?

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