Video Game Piracy

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  1. Losses to Video Game Makers Due to Piracy:$8.1 Billion

Video Game Piracy

Information and statistics about video game piracy and the downloading of pirated games online. Data collected from industry officials and other public information sources.

According to a survey of game developers in the United Kingdom, 57 percent of developers stated that piracy is a problem for their business.

10 percent of the developers stated that stricter enforcement against piracy was the best option in dealing with the problem, while 87 percent stated that creating new business models was the best option.

67 percent of developers stated that pirating activities is much more active on Android platforms versus the iPhone. In an example, one game developers found that the game was being pirated 10 times for each copy that was being sold in the Google Play store.

Source:  Stuart Dredge, “Games piracy: 57% of UK developers say it hurts, but only 10% want legal crackdown,” Guardian, October 28, 2013.

According to a study commissioned by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), 74 percent of consumers surveyed in a study stated that they first found a website offering pirated materials through a search engine.

58 percent of searches with keywords such as the movie’s title or names of television shows had links to online piracy sites, according to the report.

82 percent of search queries that brought a user to a website offering pirated materials was through Google search. This number is in direct contrast with a report released by Google last week. Google claims that just 16 percent of internet users find online piracy sites through a search engine.

Source:  Eriq Gardner, “Why Hollywood Is Suddenly Marveling Over Piracy Studies,” Hollywood Reporter, September 18, 2013.

327 million people around the world was searching for pirated content online, according to a study commissioned by NBCUniversial. The people accessing pirated content accounted for 14 billion page views on websites that were proving content without a licenses. The number of page views was 10 percent higher than the amount recorded in November 2011.

149 million users visited cyberlockers in January 2013, a decrease of 8 percent from November 2011.

Online piracy accounted for 24 percent of total Internet bandwidth in 2012, a 160 percent increase from 2010.

Source:  Richard Verrier, “Online piracy of entertainment content keeps soaring,” Los Angeles Times, Company Town, September 17, 2013.


In 2012, Google disabled the AdSense accounts and prevented ads from being displayed on 46,000 websites that was providing pirated content.

However, Google also stated in the report “How Google Fights Piracy” that all major search engines such as Yahoo, Bing and Google only provides 16 percent of the traffic to bit-torrent and piracy sites like The Pirate Bay. Most of the websites that provides torrents, downloads and pirated materials receive their traffic through social media, word of mouth and other marketing methods.

Source:  “How Google Fights Piracy,” September 2013.

In 2012, the Entertainment Software Associated participated in anti-piracy campaigns that lead to over 5 million pirated video game files being removed from the Internet during the year. Over half of the websites that received notifications that pirated games were on their sites removed the files within t24 hours.

In addition, the industry group for video game manufactures sent nearly 3.4 million alerts to ISPs about peer-to-peer activity involving video games.

Source:  Jeffrey Grubb, “The Entertainment Software Association helped NYPD and Canadian Mounties stop game pirates in 2012,” Venture Beat, GamesBeat, May28, 2013.

Over a three month period that ended in January 2013, almost 400 million digital files were pirated by Internet users in the United Kingdom.

According to a study by Ofcom, 18 percent of Internet users in the UK over the age of 12 accessed a pirated copy of an entertainment service. These files included movies, music, television shows, books, software and video games.

In the previous three month period, the number of Internet users who accessed pirated files was 16 percent.

Out of the 18 percent who accessed a pirated file, the study states that 5 percent of that figure only use illegal services.

59 percent of the digital piracy users in the United Kingdom are male, and 68 percent are under the age of 34.

Source:  Mark Sweney, “Music, TV and film piracy rises among UK internet users,” Guardian, May 28, 2013.

Jordan’s National Library Department Director General reported to the media that  pirated Play Station games were the most common smuggled item from Syria into the country in 2012. After pirated video games, the popular pirated items were DVDs, music discs and software.

Due to the conflict in Syria, the smuggling of pirated goods into Jordan dropped significantly in the first three months of 2013.

Source:  “Jordanians go without their beloved pirated DVDs due to Syrian war,” AL Bawaba, April 7, 2013.

The Entertainment Software Association of Canada stated that the computer game industry in the United States and Canada loses up to $3.5 Billion a year to pirated video games. The losses to piracy is equal to about one-fifth of the total value of the video game market.

Worldwide, the hand-held video game market loses $8.1 Billion a year to piracy.

Source:  Joseph de Weck and Marie Mawad, “Free Online Games Sink Pirates to Unlock Emerging-Market Growth,” Bloomberg BusinessWeek, August 27, 2012.

A report published by the United States Department of Justice stated that $2.6 Billion in Federal, state and local taxes are lost due to movie, music, software and video game piracy each year. The pirated materials also causes the loss of 373,375 jobs within the country.

Source: Jason Ryan, “Cyber Monday: Buyer Beware Counterfeit Goods,” ABC News, The Blotter, November 28, 2011.

According to the CEO of Bohemia Interactive, server access logs show that for ever three legitimate game buyers who are accessing the video game serves, there are one hundred attempts to access multiplayer games from pirated copies.

Source: Nathan Grayson, “Interview: Bohemia Interactive’s CEO on fighting piracy, creative DRM,” PC Gamer, November 17, 2011.