Which Platforms' Games Are The Most Likely To Be Pirated?

Let's take a look, courtesy of a report from online piracy specialists TorrentFreak!

Having examined "(nearly) all torrents that can be downloaded from public torrent sites today", they've been able to obtain a list of the most popular gaming platforms among online pirates.

Unsurprisingly, the PC is at the top, and at the top by a very wide margin. After it, though, come the two platforms most concerned with piracy this hardware generation, the PSP and Wii. Things get a little murkier after that, TF unable to break down the numbers between PS2 and PS3 torrents or Xbox and Xbox 360 torrents.

To see the complete list of figures, check out the chart below.

Interestingly, the same study showed that games only make up 3.3% of the total number of torrented files on the internet, paling in quantity next to movies, TV shows and music.

A Snapshot of the Public BitTorrent Landscape [TorrentFreak]


    And people wonders why the PC does not get the same amount of love from the publishers than the consoles...

      Totally. It's a pain in the arse to play pirated games on the Xbox as you have to mod the bloody thing and also void warranty.

        Its not a pain in the arse, its really easy and just about anyone can do it. The warranty isnt worth shit, just ask all the peole that had to fix their consoles them selves, due to Microsoft stuffing them around. I have 3 xboxes, 1 for online,1 for backups and one to play games off a USB Harddrive.

        I download and play every console and handheld game. I only buy the consoles once they have been hacked.

        Its so easy i really wonder why more people dont do it.

          Because most people see their consoles as appliances. There is a mental barrier to opening your appliance.

          Also, I don't agree about the warranty. With the RROD looming over every XBOX out there (well, maybe not the slim), there is peace of mind in knowing that I'll be fixed for real by Microsoft if it breaks. In my experience, non official fixes are hit or miss.

    "Unsurprisingly, the PC is at the top, and at the top by a very wide margin"

    With the DRM in use, what would one expect? For years now, publishers have passed the point where the copy protection is so tight that cracks or torrents are used so that users can play games they legitimately purchased.

    I still remember how the DRM on Dreamfall made my firewall go nuts (ZoneAlarm at the time - back when it was a good firewall) and how Serlock Holmes and the Awakened refused to run as the DRM did not recognize my optical drive (a Toshiba at the time).


      This is a horrible excuse. People pirate because they're cheap, that's all there is to it. DRM sucks, but this is their livelihoods so no wonder they're trying to protect it.

      Yes, it inconveniences a lot of people, but the more people pirate, the legitimate users are going to be punished. Which is an incredibly selfish perspective.

      Reminds me of when I last played Heart of Darkness.
      I had a legit store-bought retail box, but had to download an iso of the European release because the version of Securom used on the Australian discs made it unable to run itself on anything later than a Win98 system!

      And for a more recent example there is the Borderlands DLC - when installed from an original retail disc it caused general protection faults and program crashes EVERY time I attempted to access Dr. Ned's or Mad Moxy's place. Of course the 'dodgy' downloaded ones ran without a hitch (after eliminating as many problem variables as I could based on the 'support' forum, the DRM was the only thing left - pity those who are still jumping through hoops because they think it's a graphics driver problem)... I doubt it bodes well for the GOTY edition where, if you have to download 5gb of additional content in the first place, there is no incentive to do so from where you're supposed to download it!

    Did anyone really need to do this to prove how many people pirate PC games?

    It hurts though that many PC gamers pirate so many games while genuine people such as myself who buy their games suffer.

      "Number of available torrent files as of December 2010"

      What does that even mean? I cannot see an argument for or against DRM in the presented data. PC game’s back catalog dwarfs all other platforms, also, only the software requires modification with PC titles.

      Ps – the “Call of Duty” franchise made over $3 billion, if “Call of Duty” was a movie it would be labeled a “tentpole” movie, i.e. it pays for all the titles that do not make money and allows for a certain degree of risk with innovation. Activision could fully fund the development of 15 triple A games with just one tenth of that revenue.

      As someone who plays (almost exclusively) Blizzard games on PC and thus happily stays within their Bnet ecosystem, I can imagine how frustrating it would be to have price hikes because some people thought they could get a free lunch and not pay for their games.

      But the graph really puts it in perspective. A HUGE PC column and a row of little ones in the distance.

    I really find this study weird. would be interesting to see where/when its conducted. I know a lot of people who mod/hack there consoles and get games for them, yet for PC I only know 1 person..

    At the end of the day, when DRM screws you over, you screw over it..

      It's not really a full study, more of a survey of an aggregation site and some light analysis of the results.

      From the linked article:
      "The data is gathered with help from BitSnoop and comes from thousands of BitTorrent trackers. It includes (nearly) all torrents that can be downloaded from public torrent sites today, including those that were not active at the time our snapshot was taken."

        Good to know, thanks for that bit :)

    So this is comparing all PC games to all console games ever made? Doesn't that sound a little.. out of balance? I mean PC has been around for donkey's years longer than xbox and PS.. So naturally it's going to have heaps more torrents.

    Or am I reading it wrong?

      Not to mention Indie titles..

    Well at least it shows that a lot of people are still playing games on the PC. The pricks just aren't paying for them.

    I wonder if many people pirate a PC copy of a game to 'try' it, then buy it for their console?

    "Xbox" "Playstation". Playstation what? 2?

    Study is junk, this is rubbish.

    This is torrent files available not downloads completed, not even working torrents. As the PC has been around long before the consoles this isn't surprising.

    I didn't know that Luke Plunkett had been replaced by a script that trawls the web searching for articles. A little analysis of the material would have gone a long way. Slow news day?

      Furthermore, what indicates that these are pirate files and no legitimate freeware, indie game titles, non game related software, homebrew, etc?

    Now as a corresponding study I would like to see the % breakdown of pirated games available at markets and swap meets

    I think the more noteworthy statistic is the 3.3 percent, of all downloading of torrents is games. That's pretty small, not exactly the massive impact on the industry we've been led to believe pirating causes. Might be time to look else where for the reason PC games other than WoW are dying off.

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