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Piracy Stats Games

Study Links Game Piracy To Critics' Review Scores 199

An anonymous reader writes "A new study (abstract) published at the annual ACM Foundations of Digital Games conference by researchers from Copenhagen Business School and the University of Waterloo explores the magnitude of game piracy on public BitTorrent trackers. The researchers tracked 173 new game releases over a three-month period and found that these were downloaded by 12.7 million unique peers. They further show that the number of downloads on BitTorrent can be predicted by the scores of game reviewers. Overall the current paper gives a seemingly robust overview of the state of game piracy on BitTorrent. Although the results may not be all that surprising, it's certainly refreshing to see a decent report on BitTorrent statistics every now and then."
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Study Links Game Piracy To Critics' Review Scores

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  • by zget ( 2395308 ) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @06:54AM (#36983690)
    What other arguments would you like to see than this study?

    Maybe World of Goo [arstechnica.com] is a good example. A great indie game that got great reviews. Still 90% of people pirated it while it didn't even cost that much. Later they even offered pay-what-you-want model, but still the piracy rate is the same. Another indie game [slashdot.org] also had 90% piracy. It's just the norm, it has nothing to do with how good the game is. People just rather pirate than buy, if they can. I'm not surprised companies are looking for DRM methods, even if just to keep the piracy out for a little bit during the first few weeks so that people who want to play it buy it because they cant pirate it.
  • by sarkeizen ( 106737 ) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @07:00AM (#36983722) Journal
    ...and in other news water is wet.

    I guess companies should continue to buy or otherwise influence reviews.

    I just skimmed the actual study [openarchive.cbs.dk] and it doesn't really provide much more info. It does make the claim that their methods are closer to the true number of pirated copies and refreshingly that these are not necessarily correlated with lost sales. However it's conclusions aren't all that interesting. My guess? This was more about their measurement techniques and the outcome was tacked on so it could get published (or have a chance of getting published)
  • Re:Wait... what? (Score:5, Informative)

    by FrootLoops ( 1817694 ) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @07:15AM (#36983792)

    It's not a tautology. It's just incredibly obvious that better-reviewed games would be downloaded more on BitTorrent.

    [To be clear a tautology is something that is by definition true, like "a blue horse is blue" or "if a and b are rational numbers, then ab is rational". Usually the former example--which is essentially an error of redundancy--is the type "tautology" refers to in common speech, while the latter is used in formal logic.]

  • by zget ( 2395308 ) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @07:23AM (#36983832)
    Most do fail in that, you're right, but there has been cases where the DRM haven't been broken within a whole year.

    However, what is even better for game companies is to make the game only playable online, or integrate so much gameplay online (co-op etc) that it makes no sense to pirate. That is s where it's been heavily went recently and those slashdot users and everyone who rather have single-player experience should support the companies who still make good single player games. Otherwise everything will be online games soon.
  • by paziek ( 1329929 ) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @08:05AM (#36984076)

    Yes, they ignored the fact, that Starcraft 2 pirated version is just campaing mode, while the most important one for this game - multiplayer - is only for legal copies.
    Fallout doesn't have multiplayer part, so if you pirate, then you get 100% of the game.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04, 2011 @08:33AM (#36984252)

    Copyright is an exclusive right to reproduce and distribute something. Any reproduction or distribution of a copyrighted work by someone who is not the rights holder is an infringement of the copyright.

    So yes, downloading World of Goo from Pirate Bay, is in fact piracy even if the developer no longer charges for the game.

    You are right that most people ignore copyright, but there's a difference between "everyone does it" and "it's not illegal", see: speeding, drugs, prohibition, skipping school, etc.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"