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.

Between 2006 and 2011, the rate of piracy of video games in the United Kingdom increased by 20 percent.

In 2010, the top five games were estimated to be illegally downloaded from the Internet almost a million times during the year.

Source: Dan Whitworth, “Illegally downloaded games ‘up 20% in five years’,” BBC News, Newsbeat, November 11, 2011.

Up to 73 percent of global revenue for the video game industry is lost to piracy.

Source: “73pc of video gaming income lost to piracy,” Trade Arabia, May 25, 2011.

Piracy on the Internet of movies, music, video games and television shows make up to 24 percent of all Internet traffic worldwide.

Source: Gautham Nagesh, “Study: 24 percent of Web traffic involves piracy,” Hillicon Valley Blog, The Hill, February 1, 2011.


Video game piracy in the United Kingdom led to $2.3 Billion (1.45 Billion British Pounds) in losses in 2010 due to pirated games being played on modified consoles.

Source: Dan Whitworth, “Gaming industry lose ‘billions’ to chipped consoles,” BBC News, January 21, 2011.

Internet piracy in Spain cost content holders up to $7.3 Billion (5.2 Billion Euros) in revenue in the first half of 2010.

Music piracy caused $3.8 Billion (2.7 Billion Euros) in losses, with 97.8 percent of all music downloads illegally pirated.

Movie piracy caused $2.6 Billion (1.8 Billion Euros) in losses, with 77 percent of all movie downloads illegally pirated.

And video game piracy caused $369 Million (262 Million Euros) in losses, with 60 percent of all video games downloaded illegally pirated.

In comparison, $2.2 Billion (1.5 Billion Euros) were legally generated by the content industry online during the same period.

Source: Pamela Rolfe, “Report: Piracy Costs Spanish Film, Music Sectors Billions,” Hollywood Reporter, November 3, 2010.

“Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2”, was the number one selling video game of 2009.

The game sold 11.86 million copies in stores and through legitimate vendors.

4.1 million copies of the game was illegally pirated off of bit-torrent sites in 2009.

Source: Scott Steinberg, “Video game piracy: Is it good for business?,” Special to CNN, September 9, 2010.

Over 80 percent of the computers in Cuba are believed to be using pirated copies of Microsoft.

Pirated video games are sold for the equivalent of $2, and movies still showing in US theaters are regularly shown on state-owned television stations.

Source: Esteban Israel, “Despite embargo, Cuba a haven for pirated U.S. goods,” Reuters, September 2, 2010.

Video game piracy of hand-held games leads to the loss of about $8.1 Billion  a year, as losses due to pirating of Sony PSP and Nintendo DS games between 2004 and 2009 lead to worldwide losses of nearly $42 Billion.

Source: Don Reisinger, “Study: $42 billion worth of PSP, DS games pirated,” CNET, June 7, 2010.

In the second half of 2009, piracy in Spain cost $6.28 Billion (5.1 Billion Euros) to content producers. Legal sales in the country during the same period were $1.97 Billion (1.6 Billion Euros).

Movie piracy accounted for $2.95 Billion and music piracy for $2.83 Billion.

Of the digital music market, 95 percent is illegally downloaded.

Of the movie market, 83 percent of all movies are illegally downloaded.

53 percent of all video games are illegally downloaded.

And 19 percent of all digital books are pirated.

Source: Pamela Rolfe, “Piracy cost Spain $6 bil in 2nd half of ’09,” Hollywood Reporter, June 1, 2010.

Japanese video game maker Nintendo discovered in June 2009 10 websites where their games were illegally pirated 238 million times.

The total losses to Nintendo was $10.7 Billion.

Source: Saki Mizoroki and Takashi Kamiguri, “Console game makers fight ‘magicom’ piracy craze,” Asahi, April 20, 2010.