The Most Pirated Games Of 2009

Sales figures can be an impressive thing, but so too can the figures showing how many times a game has been pirated. OK, maybe not "impressive". "Disappointing" might be a more suitable term.

Actually, looking at the sheer scale of numbers on display here, change that to "very disappointing". TorrentFreak have hit up all the major public BitTorrent trackers and recorded how many times a particular game has been downloaded, and the figures are, if correct, frightening.

Modern Warfare 2 on PC, for example, may have disappointed at the register, but according to TorrentFreak's figures it's been downloaded 4.1 million times.

Now, that's not to say there are 4.1 million illegal copies out there. There's bound to be duplicates and errors in the tracking. Nor is it suggesting that Activision have somehow missed out on 4.1 million sales of the game, because as common sense dictates, a copy pirated does not equate to a lost sale.

But still.

Add in the 970,000 copies illegally downloaded on Xbox 360 and you're looking at a lot of people playing the game for free.

Other popular titles with pirates in 2009 were The Sims 3, Street Fighter IV, Prototype and New Super Mario Bros.

TorrentFreak's charts can be found below, though for some reason PS3 games were not included.

Modern Warfare 2 Most Pirated Game of 2009 [TorrentFreak, via IGN]


Comments

    Not surprised at all by this. With MW2's numerous bugs and lackluster SP, a lot of people would have resorted to pirating and saved their money for a better game. Still is shocking how many people continue to pirate instead of supporting their devs, and then expect to get high-quality games when the devs have no money since they pirate? Please.

      The funniest thing is that people who pirate not only expect quality games, but whinge about single flaws in some games. I use to be a pirate, but I've turned my ways now and bought every game I did pirate (from retail) to support the devs, like they deserve. I haven't looked back either, sure its a fair bit of $ a year, but I doubt you go to work for free each day, and I doubt you'd not work if you did, let alone help support everyone using your services, knowing that some of them aren't going to pay.

      (directed at pirates)

        Yeah, it's good to know that you're not pirating anymore. I understand some of the reasons people pirate, but people who can afford the game and pirate for reasons or other still don't realise that devs actually need purchases to get rights for sequels etc.

        It's basically the same if you were a mechanic and work three months on fixing up a car, and someone just took it without paying you. I'm exaggerating a bit, but piracy is indeed a big problem.

          Your analogy is incorrect.
          The mechanic would be left without pay. The game devs (or more so, publishers) remain paid, albeit less.

          It is not correct to assume a pirate would purchase a game if it were not available via piracy.

          It'd be like if a mechanic fixed your car for $300, but while looking through the parts and services you discovered that the job was only worth $150, $200 max, and so after some haggling he drops the price down to $180.

          Oh wait...

    I imagine that PS3 games aren't included because they're actually quite expensive to pirate - even after buying a somewhat pricey Blu-ray burner, the blank discs are still quite expensive. It's much cheaper and easier to pirate DVD ISOs for PC, 360 and Wii, so it's much more widespread.

    There's no way that 4.1 million is true. Don't forget to count all the pirate downloads hosted on Rapidshare. ;)

    Some of the others were not surprising either - NSMB Wii was really widely hailed in the reviews, it's like one of three games that gets airtime here in Australia (the other two being Spirit Tracks and World of Warcraft).

    And with the size of PlayStation 3 games, I don't think anybody except obsessers would be willing to download that much data. So they probably didn't count it for that reason only. I could be wrong, I could be right.

    Wow, Who would have guessed? /sarcasm

    The only surprise up there, really, was UFC undisputed 2009 and the LACK of Halo: ODST (because so many people whinged about the price point, but most xbox owners play halo.)

      Without coming across as some fanboy fanatic, but Bungie is a really well-respected company. At least with ODST, they had reasonable excuses for certain features that were lacking. AKA. Matchmaking for Firefight which is my biggest issue with the game.

      IW - they had no reason except THEY should it would be best for the game. Not for players but for what THEY thought.

      Not only that, ODST is a console game. ANd i know there are pirates for consoles, but i would find (and this article suggests) more people pirate for the PC cause its easier to not get caught.

      Eh, i don't play PC and i don't pirate games for my consoles. It's one thing i have never done. I have played someone elses pirated game, but something i've never done. I'm more of a person who looks into a game before buying. Whether it be hiring for a new IP, Youtube gameplay vids etc.. or i know i like the game, like Halo or GTA etc... therefore i don't need to pirate cause i know i will get my moneys worth etc...

      Otherwise i turn to EB Games (as much as i hate it) and abuse their 7-Day-Return Policy. I suppose its a legal way of pirating without it even being pirating.

    While I don't do this myself, I know quite a few people that will download a torrent of a game without a demo to try it out before buying. One of my friends downloaded Street Fighter 4 from a torrent then used a CD Key he bought from Steam to play it online after deciding he liked it. These numbers are disappointing but there is a chance that some of these people have gone on to buy a real copy of the game after giving it a try.

    PS3 games aren't included because the console hasn't been modified in any way yet to be able to play copied games of its HD or off of a disc so no one torrents them since theirs no way of playing them. Some one correct me if i'm wrong

    "though for some reason PS3 games were not included."

    Made me chuckle.

    Isn't it then interesting how you don't see a large bump in the PS3 sales considering the lack of piracy? I mean if the ONLY way to get a game is to purchase it then surely sales would be comparably higher? And yet when you compare PS3 hardware/software ratios with the 360 there isn't much in it.

    I'm of the impression that people who pirate games never had the intention of ever paying for them. And perhaps those who would perhaps have paid for it actually go out and buy it as a result of enjoying the pirated version.

    Perhaps someone with greater insight on this could shed some light on this.

      I would think that most people who pirate games will never end up actually paying for it that’s the entire reason anyone pirates a game right?. As for the issue of PS3 sales, just because PS3 games are not represented in this list doesn’t mean a good chuck on their games aren’t pirated as well. The reason PS3 piracy is probably lower than the rest is that PS3 games are much harder to pirate, so pirates will usually opt for their less costly Xbox 360 or PC counterparts. Why this doesn’t equal higher sales I don’t know, maybe it’s just that not so many people are buying PS3 games. You can see this in the Wii’s sales as well. 1 million pirated versions of sports resort is no small number, but people sill bought it like crazy.

      There are too many factors involved to nail down why people pirate or why sales don't exceed expectations.

      As you mentioned that if the only way to play a PS3 game should boost sales of the console, I'm sure that's true... but there is probably a small percentage of consumers that haven't purchased a 360 over a PS3 because they can modify the console easily and get more games.

      Hardware/Software attach rate data, surely every place that tracks data doesn't include pirate games data, so them being equal is about normal for the average consumer.

      The 360 had a year headstart over the PS3 also, I was under the impression that the PS3 is making the gap up and in some markets is already in front of the 360. Overall they might still be in third place, but that suggests that sales of the PS3 are generally good and piracy has little effect on hardware sales.

        How do you figure re: ps3 pirating? THere seems to be confusion on this & I dunno why. You can't play copied games on a PS3. That's why there' no pirating. With a 360 it's a piece of cake. You open it up & mod it, step by step video instructions are available online. If you're not mechanically inclined you pay somebody $30-$40 and he'll mod it for you. Then you can burn games to DVD and play them on your 360. It's that simple.

        Now unless something has changed very recently, you can't do this on a ps3. There are no chips for it. But even if there were, ps3's are complete computer systems and more expensive so people would be less inclined to try to open it and mess with the components. But lets further assume that you make it that far. Ps3 games are on blue-ray discs. Most people don't have blue-ray burners yet. And even if you did, you'd have to download 40+ gigs per game, and a blank blue-ray disc is way more expensive than a DVD. So you've got what, 4 layers of obstacles to get through in order to pirate a ps3 game (assuming it were possible in the first place, which it isn't).

        If you wanna pirate games, don't buy a ps3.

          Sorry, the above post was directed to Andrew and everyone else who thinks you can pirate ps3 games. Respectfully.

    Certainly the level of MW2 piracy on PC should be no surprise since a lot of people declared that they would be pirating due to the lack of dedicated servers.

    Even if the 4.1 million can’t be fully accounted for, that is still a huge number of pirated copies. Video game piracy is one of those problems that I believe is unsolvable. Pirates will always figure out a way to get your game for free, I think the best policy is to just bite the bullet and accept that piracy exists and those sales are gone. The worst thing you can do is make a big deal about it, do people remember the DRM fiasco with spore?, people just started downloading it out of spite and to boycott DRM. I remember that in only 2 months spore had become the most pirated game of the year.

    I’m yet to see a single effective way to tackle piracy in video games.

    Im proud to say that I only pirated when I was a kid due to tight parents and lack of money myself. PS1 and early in the PS2, since then Ive bought everything legit. You get alot more satisfaction out of it, instead of blank cd cases with a disk you have a REAl game collection to show off and there is no chances of the games breaking down or not reading properly. I can understand why some people do pirate now days though with the prices for games costing about the same price as one persons food bill for a fortnight. Its absolute BS. Not only that the developers which release horrible games such as Turning Point and half assed ones such as Modern Warfare 2 (which I half regret paying full price for). I finished the single player and ever since a few rounds of online I havent touched it.

    I played MW2 at my mates place and finished the SP in an afternoon and found the Multiplayer to be bitterly disappointing. I'd rather have pirated it than paid $100AUD for the overhyped peice of crap that it was.

    You can return a crap Xbox game to EB, but not a PC game. I bet majority of these piraters are people who wanted to try before they buy... then found it wasnt worth buying.

      This is absolutely no justification for stealing a game. 'I stole it because it wasn't very good.'

      Bullshit.

        mw2 isn't worth money and alot of people realised this. Why pay for a game that is terrible when you can try it out free first?

          Um...because it's theft? How hard is it to understand?

            I never said it was legal. I was saying I could see the reasoning behind why people would pirate this game.

            If I went to a restaurant and ordered food and was served SHIT, I'd be wanting my money back. However, with PC games, you buy them and you are stuck with them regardless if it's game of the year or a non-working, buggy peice of crap that hardly works.

            With platforms like steam, you should be able to uninstall and get a refund for games within 7 days, since it is a digital distribution platform, it should be able to invalidate and generate new keys on the fly.

            In the end, what I'm talking about is not the legality or moral standing behind piracy, but what manufacturers and retailers can do to reduce piracy as a whole.

              I like your analogy.
              If only there were regulations akin to the food industry's health regulations for the game industry. Hell, I'd like to be on that regulatory board.

              Region locking and differential pricing is theft. Which theives are right again? Yours is a legitimate point of view if you can apply it consistently. I have no sympathy for game publishers whinging about copyright infringement when they charge different prices in different countries with lying tech justifications for doing so. It's illegal in aus, in the US and in the EU and it is surely theft.
              Something about glass houses and stones.

                I agree that it's annoying that there are different prices, but there is far more too it than just different prices, I mean first of all, it's not just computer games, it's everything, Shoes, Electronics, etc...

                and as much as I hate to defend the prices... living in Australia isn't actually THAT bad comparatively. Let's take Modern Warfare 2 for example, original release recommended retail price.

                | AU - $119.95 | US - $59.99 | UK - £54.99 |

                Sources
                | www.ebgames.com.au | www.ebgames.com | www.game.co.uk |

                Have a little look at the Minimum Wages for the above countries...

                | AU - $14.31 | US - $7.25 | UK - £5.80 |

                So this works out that the average consumer can purchase a copy of Modern Warfare 2 in...

                | AU - 8hrs 23mins | US - 8hrs 16mins | UK - 9hrs 29mins |

                We are basically on par with the US, and the UK are in a far worse position. It's just general economics, prices are set based on the market they are selling too and the mimimum wage will be a genuine factor in that.

                To a small extent, the $110-$120 prices we are seeing now are the $90-$100 prices 10-15 years ago, pushed up by inflation and CPI, higher development costs will also be a factor.

                But in another 10-15 years, it won't be surprising if the RRP in Australia is about $130-$140.

                It only seems like we are being ripped off because the value of our dollar is currently performing very well against both the US and UK currencies.

                The moral of the story, we aren't getting that shafted and if you own a PS3 (or some 360 games), you can save alot of money by importing from overseas.

                  I'd contend that the minimum wage in Australia is much 'fairer' than that of the US though. The cost of living in Australia (in AUD) is virtually the same as the cost of living in the US (in USD) (US is about 3% higher according to some dodgy internet calculator).A 'fair price' based on cost of living then would be ~$50-60 here, but that's never going to happen.

                  I'd be happy to pay the same (in USD) as americans. But, using MW2 as an example, we're paying ~$100 US for a game that Americans are paying $60 US for. And last time I checked it didn't take $40 to send a few pulses through fibre-optic cables across the floor of the pacific ocean.

                  Game prices here went way up when our dollar dropped to 40 US cents. They haven't gone down now that our dollar's worth 90.

        You completely misinterpreted what he said. He didn't say "it was crap so people didn't pay for it", he said "people pirated (AFAIK there wasn't a demo for PC) the game, then found it was crap so didn't buy it". I get your perspective (don't necessarily agree, but understand where you're coming from) but your assertion to Tim Harrison was misdirected.

    Those are some staggering numbers. Many people I know who pirate games are of the opinion that it's a large company, they've got enough money and it won't matter if they pirate games.

    At 5 million pirated copies (even half of that, accounting for errors/multiple copies etc), it's a ridiculous number and something that can't be ignored.

    I buy all my games, and whilst I understand the temptation to download games, especially for the unemployed or students among us, I couldn't go and pirate games now. A lot of people who continue to pirate do so not for the money, but just because they never intended to buy it and free is free.

    However, companies like Activision who raise the price of games like MW2 must realise that they are deterring people from buying games. While I don't mind paying $120 for a game if it's good, a lot of people do, and I don't blame them. I understand we're a small economy, but if games were cheaper, you'd at least get the segment of people that sit on the fence - they pirate because they can't justify paying $120 for a new game.

    I said on another article that publishers should look at bringing in "light" versions of games - just the disc and cover. The digital distribution system is doing wonders for Valve, and people don't mind spending $40 on a game with no frills.

      I know it’s a big problem but what can the companies do?, every time any video game company has tried to seriously tackle piracy its backfired horribly. The main reason N64 decided to stay with cartridges was because they saw CD as an easy target for pirates. This move meant that they pretty much backed a dead technology for home consoles and it cost them a lot of relationships. It’s true that CD were more easily pirated but Sony make so much more in sales that I doubt they even noticed.

      i pirate because most games dont deserve the incredible aussie price tags, and no way in hell im spending that much money. Only games i buy are those that are pretty much guaranteed extended game time like tf2 street fighter and otehr multiplayer games.

      Seriously 110 bucks for a computer game, what hte hell australia. i think they deserve to be pirated.

        You can't justify stealing a game because of the price. Games are always cheaper a few months after they're released, and you can buy preowned games/trade in to get it even cheaper.

        Everyone complains about the price, but there are tons of ways to get around it.

          I think this argument is totally justified, not a lot of people have that kind of cash to buy a lot of full priced games, let’s say you want to buy 6 or 7 games a year, at full price you are looking at $700. I’m a full time uni student and I can’t afford to pay that much for games, the only reasons i don’t pirate my games is out of some weird moral guilt I’d feel. That and I can’t be stuffed.

          I’m not saying that all people that pirate games are dirt poor people that have no money for real games. But it probably makes up a good portion of pirates.

          i dont think its stealing to share games anyways. would it be stealing if a friend lent me a a music CD and i put it in my ipod, and then gave it back to him? fuck no, its his to do as he wants.

            Actually, according to current Australian fair use provisions, it absolutely is illegal to do that - they're just not trying as hard to stop that, because at least there was an initial sale.

        on one point i wont buy a game over $60 enless i was really anticipating the title i would rather wait for the price drop then pay $110 its just to much for me when i could by two older but just as fun to play cheaper games but even with the ones i really wanted i wont buy within a month of the game release i read reviews and such before i buy and on the other hand i can understand people wanting to try-before-buy but isn't that what Demo's are for

      Yeah, Valve rakes it in with Steam, since they support all of their games, have a thriving mod community, integrated servers and chat stuff, and sales and pretty cheap games. If gaming eventually heads to digital distribution, I would love to see Valve make the hop to consoles, and given enough time and money they could definitely make it work. A XBL version of Steam would be really good, as I am finding things like the Arcade and Games on Demand pretty cluttered at the moment.

        I'm afraid it doesn't work like that, Joshua. Why would Microsoft want to give away a substantial portion of their online revenue to Valve? At the moment, they have complete control of their online distribution model, and it's not quite as slick as Steam but it's getting better. I'd be shocked if MS wanted to integrate Steam, in any way other than a free shared chat feature.

          Yeah, you're right. It's just a pipe-dream I guess. Though I think I worded myself wrong. I really wanted a complete (or near-complete, depending on how you look at it) service on XBL. And something like Steam would be great. Though yeah, I realize now Microsoft is very money-hungry, so they won't do something like that. Yeah, it's getting better, but one can dream, hey?

    If Brand new games weren't so damn expensive (e.g. $110 for MW2 when it first came out) then maybe people wouldnt resort to illegally downloading games.

      If less people pirated games, they would be less expensive. Chicken or egg...

        Unfortunately no. More sales do not imply lower prices.
        If you're a publisher you charge whatever the market can bare. If you sell an extra ten million units you put 10 million by the wholesale price straight to your profit. I'm not complaining about this, it's how it should be and it's how it is in movies, books, music, superannuation funds, whatever. It's just nonsense to suggest that less piracy would get lower prices due to increased sales. Hell, we haven't even established a link yet between reduced piracy and increased sales, if anything what we've seen suggests the exact opposite, but that's a separate issue altogether.

          Yeah, Xan's right. It takes a certain amount of money to produce a game, and some companies are looking at a huge loss profit total when, say if a dev discounted ten bucks off what it cost to make it, and it sells a million = ten x million = ten million dollars. I'm exaggerating, but all the dev can do is sell the game to the shops at the RRF, and then it's out of their hands.

          And the shops that have the games regulate the sales, so it's best to purchase games at a stocktake sale, when they're clearing out old stock, like Boxing Day or mid-year.

      Not really related to piracy, but more about the pricing:

      When did PC games hit $110?
      Back when, they sat comfortably at an even $100.
      Then they dropped to $90 RRP on release.
      Then the X360 and PS3 came out (not that I'm blaming them, I'm just using them as a general time marker) at, what, $110/$120 per game? Arguably that was because HD-DVD/Blu-Ray were emerging storage formats, attributing to manufacturing costs. Also, I just made that up, but I think it's a feasible excuse.
      But I look at the (small and dismal) shelf of PC games at EB and GAME (shelves, if you're lucky), and Modern Warfare 2, Dragon Age for $110? Mass Effect 2 for $120 (Though that may have been the Collector's Edition). I still buy games from them, although I check JB and Big W and whozits to find the cheapest retailer, but when did this happen? I'm confused.

    A lot of PC gamers dismiss the numbers, and that's why there is no real hardcore exclusive FPS community on the PC any more... the newest and best releases are on console now. Talking to my friends who pirate, they make it out to be a moral issue... like as if the bigger the company, the more they'll pirate... and the world will keep turning regardless... but it's a lot more than that, because hard drives are getting bigger, and internet is getting faster it's easier now than EVER before to get games free and illegally... there's direct link to the amount of piracy to the decline in developers wanting to do new and exciting stuff on the PC... they pretty much can't, and for a community where almost everyone scoffs at console gamers as an inferior breed, like the PC is the holy grail... well, they haven't had a real exclusive FPS which pushed the hardware since, you guessed it, Crysis. But there's still that misguided culture that "FPS on PC will always be better, just because"... it isn't true when no one will touch the platform. Oh yeas, everyone else will buy the game... *facepalm*

      yeah FPS are good on Console but i will never play a RTS on a console

    There are many different kinds of pirates. You cant just lump them all in the big 'ALL PIRATES WILL NEVER BUY GAMES' or 'PEOPLE ONLY PIRATE BECAUSE THEY ARE ANGRY AT DEVS'

    While it's true that there are a percentage of pirates that will never buy games, a great majority of them pirate because the devs give them no incentives to buy. In fact, many devs PUNISH people for buying games legitimately (through DRM for example)

    Many pirates (at least PC gamers) will also pirate games if they feel that they are inappropriately priced for their content (prototype being a 5 hour game for example), a shameless milk of a franchise, with dozens of expansions to come (The Sims 3) or just if the dev has distastefully shunned them in favour of consoles (MW2).

    What i think is more important is the games that are LACKING from that list. The big one being Left 4 Dead 2

    Both L4D2 and MW2 sold exceptionally. Both have a distinct single-player component that is only a fraction of the game. Both can only be played on-line if bought legitimately. Yet MW2 has 5 million pirates, and L4D2 has almost none? Valve takes care of their PC fanbase, they actually know what PC gamers want, instead of trying to force PC gamers to like what console gamers like.

    Plus the constant steam sales (L4D2 is 33% off as i speak!) certainly helps deter piracy.

    Bottom line: If you don't want your game pirated (as much), make it a game people WANT to buy

      This really is a nonsense argument. If you believe a game is "inappropriately priced for their content (prototype being a 5 hour game for example), a shameless milk of a franchise, with dozens of expansions to come (The Sims 3) or just if the dev has distastefully shunned them in favour of consoles (MW2)" then why would you want to play it?

      It's ridiculous to refuse to pay money for a game yet at the same time feel you must play it.

        David, your comment doesn't make much sense to me.
        It is NOT ridiculous to refuse to pay for a game but still want to play it. If I believe a game is not worth the asking price, I might pirate it to try it out. If it is good, I might buy it when the price drops to a more reasonable (in my own opinion) price.

        What about a game like Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing? It's a NOTORIOUSLY BAD game that no one would want to actually buy, but you might want to play just for the LULZ.

        It's really not. People speak with their wallets. When they pirate these games they are saying

        'This is a decent game. If you had made the effort to make it a GREAT game, I would have bought it'

        How is this any different to renting/borrowing from a friend a game for a console? You also 'refuse to pay money (full price) for a game yet at the same time feel you must play it', sending devs the same message as PC pirates

        Another driving force behind PC game piracy is the inability to get a refund. If you buy a console game that turns out to be medicore, you can always return it. With a PC game, as soon as you open that box that's it, you're money is gone forever.

        This, coupled with the lack of decent demos on many games, causes many pirates to 'try before they buy'. If they pirate a game, and they like it, they'll buy it.

          When you say most pirates will "try before they buy" I've found that this is the exception, not the rule. If you're going to pirate a game in the first place, what motivation is there at all to pay 90+ dollars for a game you already have, but are just going to "try"? If you're only buying GREAT games, then don't try out decent games and then refuse to pay for them, but continue playing, because they didn't live up to your expectations/standards.

          I think the information this graph is kind of working against you, it seems to me that the better a game is the more people want to pirate it, not the other way around.

            The graph doesn't prove anything. People who pirate a game and then go on to buy it STILL pirated it in the first place, thus are still on the graph. Plus it is also logical to assume that the more popular a game is, the more pirates it has, even though the percentage may remain similar (MW2, for example, had one of the 'biggest launches in entertainment history. EVER.' as they like to quote)

            Secondly, to Joshua, how is someone to know if a game is GREAT or DECENT if they haven't played it? Reviews and trailers can only take you so far, some games have good demos, but most have very crappy ones or none at all.

            The motivation behind buying a game that you have already pirated usually comes from wanting to play the multi-player online, or being awed by an impressive campaign or additional features.

            FYI: An example of a good demo was the Demigod demo, in which you could play as ALL 8 of the demigods (including on-line play), but only play on one map. Another good example is of indie game 'Altitude', in which you could use two of five unlockable planes only (also including on-line play)

            PS: Another interesting game that is lacking from that list is Batman: Arkham Asylum. Take note that it sold well, is a new game from a new developer, is a batman game that is actually GOOD, and has a SP campaign that lasts up to 12 hours (not including additional challenges)

              First, for Batman: folks stopped pirating that after it was discovered that the devs had written in a glitch for all pirated copies, which got picked up by media. They're not on the list because of a clever anti-piracy strategy, not because people decided they were worth the money.

              And second, Steam works because you have to buy Valve games to play them online with Valve server,s and they try and make sure that you want to play online by making single player sparse pretty damn sparse - this is why L4D and TF2 aren't on the list, and it's also the reason that PC gamers just lost dedservers for MW2. You're only hurting yourselves in the long run...

                On the point of Valve, can you really commend them for some of what they do though?

                Yes, we love them for taking care of us PC gamers. TF2 is constantly updating, L4D has been promised new content even though L4D2 is out, they keep giving us (essentially) free new content even though we bought the game as-is on initial release. They're fantastic in that regard.

                But as you say, the real gameplay lies with online. Shouldn't they at least try have a decent single player? Yes, I know, they're online games, they're supposed to be played cooperatively, but L4D has a good go at it with their bots. Even so, though they may have perfect aim, they'll happily watch you get mauled by a Hunter, so it still doesn't compare to having human players. Heck, TF2 only got bots recently.
                Also the fact that Steam forces you to go through it. I tried playing HL2: Episode 2 yesterday, and it told me to defrag the files, in Online mode. Really? I shouldn't have to go and connect to the Steam server just to be able to replay a single player game with no online multiplayer component at all. And my internet quota is out, so when I do try start in online mode, it sits there, forever saying that's it's connecting.

                What's my point? I don't know.
                Good on Valve. Good on them for encouraging people to pay for games. I don't really appreciate being funnelled online when I should have a choice though. And I wish they'd stop punching me in the face should I try to avoid Steam. But then, could they achieve the same results, or better, without this tough love?

                  Re: Batman Arkham Asylum, those hacking groups posted up a new updated crack that bypassed this so called anti piracy measure of yours and they did it within a few days so your argument is moot in regards to Batman. Get your facts straight before opening your mouth next time noob.

                  That's true. Valve does an awesome job promoting legal digital distribution. Admittedly, their big fault (as it seems to me) is indeed the lack of offline support for the games you buy. I think that's something that Valve needs to rectify, and then they can truly offer a complete experience. Since them not offering offline would gravitate you towards buying a game retail, but then buying retail would deprive you of the integrated game support that Steam provides.

                  So yeah, Steam has a good online service and a lackluster offline service, so it's a catch-22. You either buy steam, get great online support, and average offline support, or buy retail, get offline support (with most games), but may miss out on the servers and support that Steam provides. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but that's my view on it.

              Fair enough. I think the point here is we all, or most of us, think pirating's wrong, but there's a curve with how far some of us'll go with pirating. Fair enough that you don't want to buy a game straight away, but I honestly think a demo should usually give a fair enough representation of a game to enable you to decide if it's a purchase. And on your other point, pirates who buy before they try being included on the graph, in my opinion it still counts.

              You are still commiting to doing the wrong thing by pirating, and even though buying the game is an acceptable rectification of the mistake, you still made the wrong choice, and I think it should still be counted.

        I disagree. I'm sure than a few people who pirated MW2 saw it and said "pfft, 5 hour campaign. I'm sure it will be good but not $90 good" so they pirated it. If it was say a 15 hour campaign, that might be a lot better value for money, and they would buy it.

        I didn't buy it because it isn't value for money for me (I didn't pirate it, though).

        Of course there are people who pirate things simply because they can. But then there are people who speed (as if anyone in this thread with a drivers licence hasn't) simply because they can.

        I'd have to disagree there, Steven hit the right note in my opinion. Many games are worth playing but are not worth the price. MW2 is my example - the multiplayer in my opinion had been spoilt but I still wanted to play the single player. Seeing as the game was being sold at stupid prices both at retail and on steam, I figured 4-5 hours wasn't worth the 90-100 bucks. In the end I was glad I didn't buy it, borrowed it from a friend and finished it in one afternoon.

        Boycotters are also another prime example. They don't buy a game on certain principles but that doesn't mean they don't want to play the game.

        A lot of it also has to do with how the developer treats its consumers. I don't hesitate in supporting a developer with my wallet if I think they deserve it. I have never pirated a Valve game for example and I never plan to unless they go all activision on us.

      It all comes down to the same thing: pirates refusing to pay for one reason or another. Therefore, they steal the game. Justify it how you will, but it IS stealing, and if you didn't like the game, you should have reasearched it before you bought it.

        Exactly. Seriously, some of the attempts at justification in these comments are delusional.

        You're right, it is stealing, no-one is denying that. It's in the same league as downloading MP3's off the radio or movies off the TV. Ooops. I meant INTERNET

          There actually is a pretty significant difference between software piracy and video/audio piracy - the software industry has no alternate revenue stream. The artists involved in the music and acting industries generate celebrity status which can be turned into concert sales, product endorsements, stage performances, etc. A chief argument made by more thoughtful advocates of expanding creative commons for music is that it would reinvigorate live performances as the means of earning for recording artists, which would put more money in their hands and less in the coffers of large corporations.

          But let's face it, no one wants to watch a dude code a video game, and there are a great deal more people involved in the process. And with a market demand that the console price itself be low, the industry makes little/no money from hardware. So where do they get their income from, if not from game sales?

        Can we stop saying "stealing"? No, really. It's Copyright Infringement. Both legally and morally, they are not the same thing. You can't copyright infringement a handbag from a store, just like you can't steal a game from the internet. It's breaking the law, but so is speeding. But speeding and downloading a game are not the same thing either.

          Er...no... because that's exactly what it is. Theft. Dress it up how you want, waffles, but it's theft, pure and simple.

          You can rationalize it how you will, but to me it's still stealing. For example, when you pirate, you take money away from the developers and are getting a free game. You can get a free game by walking into a store and stealing it. That's how I rationalize calling it stealing. Copyright Infrigement might be the legal term, but if you're depriving devs of the money they worked for = stealing.

            It appears to me that a significant factor in theft is the deprivation of the item in question from its owner. Digital duplication muddies these waters as the resources expended in this process are in fact bought and paid for in most cases. In this way I believe piracy is distinct from theft.

            Additionally, while entertainment products consume resources they are in fact counterproductive to any economy, their popularity only feeding a dependence on more entertainment products and therefore a greater use of resources for that end.

            It is for these reasons that I believe piracy of any entertainment product cannot be comparable to physical theft, and therefore should not be prioritised as such in terms of enforcement.

            I would however like to add that I buy and play games; I am not advocating piracy; I do not sympathise for developers of entertainment products losing revenue as while I do use them, I would not for a second consider them necessary.

      Agreed on the types of pirates thing, there are quite a few reasons people may pirate. Also think of those that would download to try a game before commiting, as Joshua says to research the game (though admittedly this would be a small portion).

      Also agree about the various types of annoying DRM and such, though pirating because of this just turns it into a vicious cycle, more piracy so more DRM so more piracy... How about what I do. Buy all games, though find cracks and workarounds to bypass all the silly CD and stuff requirements, win win yes?

      Unrelated to this response but another point about PS3 piracy, no idea if this is true though I've heard if Sony discovers you playing a pirated game (signed in while playing) they can brick your console completely. That coupled with it taking maybe making 6 or 7 pirated games yourself before you save /any/ money over buying them at retail would be enough to deter most pirates I'd wager. How smart Sony was to go with blu-ray (:

      http://www.kotaku.com.au/2008/01/piracy_makes_call_of_duty_4_devs_sad-2/

      Given that piracy rates for the PC version of the first Modern Warfare were "astounding", it's hard to blame Activision for distastefully shunning the PC in favour of consoles.

    I didn't even know they had pirated charts.

    I have a friend who pirates games (I don't really care, it's his decision).

    All the games on the Wii list he pirated. So that makes sense.

    lmao, i don't mind if people's whole games collection consist of burned copies or torrent downloads. just don't try to provide any reason whatsoever to justify it lol

    This makes me SICK!

    I work in the industry and I have to wonder, how many of the thousands of developers fired over the last 12 months due to cost cutting would still have a job if it wasn't for pirates.

    I know that these numbers don't equate easily to the number of jobs saved as there's mitigating issues of:

    1. Not all pirates would of bought the game anyway
    2. Other economic conditions contributed to the layoffs
    3. Manufacturing and marketing costs absorb a portion of the profit

    But still. Anyone that justifies their actions because its "stealing from faceless corporations" should spare a thought for the families of the developers who suffered due to the millions of dollars piracy took from the publishers that could of been used to fund further titles and thus retain jobs.

      If you really want to support developers, you'll buy indie games. This year was spectacular for indie titles, with hits such as Altitude, Killing Floor and World of Goo just to name a few.

      The top five torrents (at least for PC) are literary drops in the pond for the huge mega corporations that produce them (Activision, EA, and Capcom)

      Piracy does NOT hurt these companies, it hurts the little guys. Pirating indie titles is NOT cool.

      PS: I may be entirely wrong on this, but I doubt ANY MW2 "developers fired over the last 12 months due to [piracy related] cost cutting" considering that the game made like a hundred million billion dollars.

      It's the same thing as the huge name recording artists *COUGH*METALLICA*COUGH* winging about mp3 downloads. It's hard to feel sorry for someone who makes ten times what you will earn in your entire life in a single year.

        Yeah, but the big devs still need support. Pirating indie titles is just as bad if not worse, as it's comparable to stealing from a small family-owned bakery or stealing from a supermarket. Both are the same crime, yet one is going to hurt the owner a lot more than another will.

        And on your point about it not hurting the big companies, sure one or two won't really hurt, doesn't justify the crime, but you know that. But we're talking big numbers here. Four million + pirates on MW2. That's a significant amount of moeny for the big devs. It's still not going to put them out of business, but it may mean the difference for a sequel being created, more people being hired to produce the game, therefore creating more jobs, and supporting more men with families.

    Frankly, i wish everyone who bought MW2 on pc had pirated it instead if they really had to play it.

    I've bought every CoD game on pc until MW2. People in the industry want to whine about customer loyalty (presuming many of those who pirated ever would have been your customer), but you treat your existing customers like crap.

    I haven't pirated MW2 nor will i ever buy it so long as it lacks dedicated server support, but having seen friends play it, the multiplayer really is as bad as expected.

    About the only piracy I've ever engaged in (and at most it was half a dozen times) was for stuff that didn't have a demo. Being unemployed, a $90-100 investment is no small deal for me and so I made myself a rule that if a game didn't have a demo and I was interested enough to want it, I'd download it, keep it for no more than 24 hours and then delete it or buy it.

    Sadly almost every case ended up with me not buying whatever game it was because they were fucking awful and thats probably the reason for the lack of a demo

    I've always thought that piracy could be cut by dropping the DRM bullshit and dropping the price a bit. Trusting the consumer can do wonders and sure as hell earns my respect. GOG.com does cheap & DRM free and from what I'm told, games from them rarely ever show up on torrent sites when other versions do. Granted that could be a combination of preexisting ISOs and the fact the games are at least a few yesrs old but I have a feeling respect for the business model comes into it as well

    Selfish pricks will always be selfish pricks but with people teetering on the edge of destroying the industry for the rest of time and condemning us all to an eternity of torment by clicking "Download .torrent", giving them a small incentive such as a reduced price could make all the difference. If it works then they're decent people, if it doesn't then they're just selfish pricks who haven't made the jump yet.

    A lot of people complain about the COST of a new game as being a reason to pirate. And as a retort to that others are saying that there are alternatives such as hiring or buying pre-owned. But to play devil's advocate for a moment, doesn't hiring or only buying pre-owned games also not support developers?

    For example, if i were to buy a game and then trade it in, and then the store was to re-sell it and another customer bought it and this happened several times over. Wouldn't that be as equally bad for developers as several people pirating it? Sure the store would profit, but not the developers.. unless there is some royalty i'm not aware of...

      Right on the money with this one Tommy, developers have stated that they see ZERO kickback from used game sales, so buying or renting a pre-owned game essentially hurts a developer as much as a pirate.

      Many developers are starting to try and discourge people buying used games, by offering one-time only codes for additional content with games bought new (EG: Map packs in Gears of War 2, or extra quests in Dragon Age: Origins)

    I think a lot of piracy would be cut down by pricing parity in regions and non restrictive region lockouts this method bites them in the backside so to speak as people feel they shouldnt have to pay almost double the price/have restrictions in place.

    Im sick to death of the australian tax on almost everything because we used to high prices in oz compared to US,

    I'll give you an example, I have downloaded a copy of bayonetta for the 360 because it came out a month early on the net as opposed to in store, now as soon as the game comes out I will buy it, why because I like the game and want to support the developers, but I didnt wanna wait a month to play it.

    Also piracy can help in some ways for word of mouth and getting your game out there to the masses quickly and easily, for example the trials HD release on bittorrent.

    If there is downloadable content/extras like collectors editions with something added that a pirate copy simply cant do or replicate then people will buy the game for these things

    An example here is I bought borderlands, my mate borrowed it/copied it off me so we could play system link co-op when we both wanted to play the game together but because of the DLC/online he has now bought the game...)

    Also it would be great if you could make direct donations to the creator of the game for old/out of print games (im talking mainly for old games that arent distributed/available and fetch massive sums on ebay this is unfair to the buyer/game company)

    I dont think piracy like rom download/downloading unreleased/out of print games is wrong as you cant legally support the person who made it at the time you want it...

    At the end of the day, I dont feel every pirated copy is a lost sale as you cant say for sure that the customer would have bought it in the first place, but if you like the game you should buy it....

    im suprised borderlands pc didnt make it on there since the devs didnt care if it got pirated or not, they just wanted people to play

    A lot of people have complained about the price of games being high at release..

    But was it just me or did I have to wait for ages for Fallout 3 to drop in price for PS3..

    Whoever said you can return a Xbox game at EB but not a PC game is absolutely wrong. Well at least, in Adelaide you can return PC Games within the 7 Days etc...

    Not trading, but returns yes!

    NO JUSTIFICATION! It's just sad that they can't admit it.

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