The Most Pirated PC, 360 And Wii Games Of 2011

The Most Pirated PC, 360 And Wii Games Of 2011

This week, TorrentFreak reported on the 50 most searched terms on torrent sites, giving indications as to what may have been the most pirated things of 2011. Not a single video game title was among them.

Well, now TorrentFreak has listed its top five most pirated games of the year, across three platforms. PC, Wii and Xbox 360? Why no PS3? “The platforms that are not mentioned, such as the PS3, get considerably less downloads and are excluded for that reason.” I’m sure someone will take that as a challenge, but a) Sony’s been very aggressive, to the point of cutting off some of the PS3’s functionality, to combat piracy. And b) those are damn large games on that Blu-Ray disc.

Anyway, here are the top five for each, per TorrentFreak. While trailing in whole numbers in both the PC and the Xbox 360 list, the fact it came in #2 with the latest release date of any of these and did so on two different platforms, qualifies Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 as the most pirated video game of 2011, in my book anyway.

Top Five Pirated PC Games

1. Crysis 2 (3,920,000) (March 2011)

2. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (3,650,000) (November 2011)

3. Battlefield 3 (3,510,000) (October 2011)

4. FIFA 12 (3,390,000) (September 2011)

5. Portal 2 (3,240,000) (April 2011)

Top Five Pirated Wii Games

1. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (1,280,000) (May 2010)

2. Mario Sports Mix (1,090,000) (February 01 2011)

3. Xenoblade Chronicles (950,000) (August 01 2011 EU)

4. Lego Pirates of the Caribbean (870,000) (May 2011)

5. FIFA 12 (860,000) (September 2011)

Top 5 Pirated Xbox 360 Games

1. Gears of War 3 (890,000) (September 2011)

2. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (830,000) (November 2011)

3. Battlefield 3 (760,000) (October 2011)

4. Forza Motorsport 4 (720,000) (October 2011)

5. Kinect Sports: Season Two (690,000) (October 2011)

Top 10 Most Pirated Games of 2011 [TorrentFreak. h/t LulzJager]


  • It’s posts like this that make game companys think they can screw over pc users.
    I honestly feel like these numbers MUST be inflated.
    Personally only thing i’ve ever pirated is old SNES and PS1 games, which i actually own irl but the console no longer works or lost connections (my 40″ lcd tv doesnt support old school connections haha)
    But to think close to 4 million people ‘stole’ newer games is frustrating, because then its the PAYING customers who suffer ubisofts wrath–… err i mean game companys wrath

  • When I hear numbers like this I often wonder, “How many of these users actually bought the game first?”

    My reason for asking this? The fact how DRM on PCs has gone beyond the point where even legitimate users can fell safe. Due to incompatibilities with certain hardware, even when one purchases a legit game the DRM will block attempts to play it because it cannot enforce its protection measures.

    I have been lucky so far, I have only had three issues where the game is unplayable after a couple of years of headaches with online activation and the late release of deactivation tools to allow for installation on new machines I finally gave up and became a console gamer. Now it is a case of put the disk in and play – play a game I legitimately bought and have a valid license to do so.

    • Wouldn’t the majority of people who bought the game simply apply a crack as opposed to downloading the game again? I doubt they’d factor that highly.

  • I call bullshit. The Witcher 2 was supposedly pirated something like 4 million times and it’s not even on that list.

    • There are torrent sites and trackers other than Torrentfreak. Just because Witcher 2 isn’t on this list doesn’t mean anything.

    • That was a guess based on no data. Obviously it was way over the top. Going from this list, 2 million times is probably well above the actual number.

      • What about the instances of piracy where there was no download recorded? You know, like when a friend gives you a copy? I can see 2 million copies clicking up exponentially. A friend gives it to a friend who gives it to a friend…..

        • True – but I can’t estimate that though. We should all stop quoting the four million figure though, the guy admitted he plucked it out of thin air.

    • Remember, this is just ONE torrent tracker, the number would actually be way, way, way higher.
      People use Newsgroups (usenet) for big downloads as it happens at your full internet speed and you aren’t stuck waiting for seeders. If you took Warez, Newsgroups, private trackers into account, as well as stuff like DCC+ and people renting and ripping then the actual figures would be massively higher.
      Does it translate directly into 1:1 lost sales, nope, but it must mean a *lot* of lost sales, when you could easily multiply these number by 5 or ten if you took all forms of copying into account.

  • Its funny how people still use torrents when warez is far better. Keep in mind that there is no way to be able to count the amount of downloads of a game and all this articles done is look at torrents out of many ways to pirate from which torrents only count the amount of people that downloaded the original torrent file which doesnt necessarily mean they downloaded the torrent file nor does it mean they downloaded it once. basically these numbers are meaningless like this article.

  • You gotta keep this in persecptive, there are what?50 mil xbox’s or PS3’s and about a BILLION pc’s.And I think you will find professional piracy, somtimes with full colour covers and manuels that are sold at carboot sales and thrift markets are way more prevelent on consoles.This is where one “entrapenuer” downloads it once then makes many copies.

  • The fact Crysis 2 is the highest speaks volumes. It supports the claim a lot of pirating is to see if the game will run, because otherwise Crysis 2 would be well down the list.

    • Well its interesting that Crysis 2 is the most pirated as this instead may have more to do with it no longer being sold on Steam and EA forcing people to use Origin. This just shows what people think of Origin!

    • Yeah Thom your logic is fail. Crysis 2 had a beta and a demo for people to check if it runs.

      • Actually I have done that a few times, and I bought the retail copy when the DRM was removed to support DRM free legit games.

      • I’ve done that to see if music albums are worth getting. Can’t trust singles, they usually don’t reflect the whole album… thankfully things like iTunes let you sample every song so it’s not necessary anymore.

  • One thing they never provide is a breakdown by country. FIFA 12 being on the list, despite the PC version counting for only a fraction of sales, less than 3% of total PC + PS3 + XBOX (vgchartz), implies to me that the piracy figures are made up largely from areas outside of the UK/US. A quick perusal of forums talking about the PC version of the game implies just that.

    It’s sad, as EA have finally brought FIFA as it should be to the PC, but I can’t see it lasting if sales are poor and piracy high. Their origin policy isn’t helping things though. Especially when people in central america were being charged european prices for the game on origin…

  • Despite a full year of being cracked the PS3 remains basically pirate free. Sony are laughing all the way to the bank on this one. The fact that 360 is bleeding nearly 1 million sales offsets it’s marginal sales lead.

      • Cmon, don’t be so naive, the majority of these people are not buying the game after acquiring it in it’s full form completely cost free. The only exception might be in those that have a multiplayer focus (MW3, BF3) but most of these are not being bought, Crysis 2, Mario, Portal 2, Forza 3.

        • I guess Sony are laughing at having a console that is not performing in any way close to their last two; low piracy tends to relate to low sales. Bizarre, but history bears it out. As an example, no-one really pirated Gamecube games, unlike the PS2 where it was rampant.

          • I think he means that if you couldn’t download the game that they woulldnot have 800m more sales, they would just simply not buy it, leaving sales pretty close to what they already have just no piracy. Therefore downloading doesnt necessarily mean lost sales, just potentially lost, but we all know less than 1% would actually buy it

        • That’s still not a lost sale. I’m not advocating piracy, but if your going to decide on whether to support a platform, I hope it wouldn’t be based on the assumption it might actual cause a loss of sales on other platforms when it may just be people downloading games they would never pay for and so weren’t going to be a source of revenue either way.

          • This is absolutely true – besides you only have to look at the sales of multiplatform games to see that 360 consistently outsells PS3 – this shows that there is no real net gain for Sony having a piracy-free console.

            I remember going to markets seeing the oodles of pirated PS2 and Xbox games and not one single Gamecube game – it was way too hard, odd disc size that spun backwards – and how did that work out for them?

  • have you played fifa 12 on PC? im half tempted to abuse ea for my money back and just pirate it… its worse than the MGS2 port…

    • No, I’ve been avoiding it because of origin. But I did play FIFA 11 on the PC (which was basically FIFA 10 on XBOX/PS3), and I had no problems with it whatsoever. It wasn’t on origin though, if that was the problem.

  • people who pirate consume around 100-1000% more content than the average paying consumer. if piracy was to go away these pirates will not starting buying all that content. There is suggestion that why media companies say that 90% of there content is pirated, its most likely not from 90% of there market, but in fact only 10%-20% of the market who are just consuming more stuff therefore cross over on your products. An example would be movies, an average movie goer might buy/rent 3 movies a year(remember rough average), but the average pirate may download 30 movies a year, say the consumer base is 1 million people, you have on average 3 million movies being bought, but if we say 10% of those people pirate, they are downloading 3 million times, so the movie industy may go 3 milliion pirated, and in there head thats 3 million stealing customers, but is in fact only 100K stealing customers. and if they were to turn into legit there wont be an 100% increase like they would expect, but something far less. Now this is me just speculating and nothing is fact, but I would strongly stand against the fact, that if piracy was to vanish tomorrow, sales wont go up to what the entertainment industry expects it would, and would only increase by a small bit compared to say bringing out a high quality product that everyone wants over a poorly made 1980 film remake.

    • If music is anything to go by, 1000% might be a conservative estimate. Ten years ago, I had a large music collection of about 400 albums. A lot of people only had 5 to 10. Since Napster, 400 albums has become a starting point. In fact, piracy doesn’t seem to have cannibalised sales nearly as much as the option to buy singles from iTunes instead.

      • 100% With you here.

        Another note however is from my own experience. I have a great deal of media I have bought legitimately, but I’m sure that that the big media companies still won’t be happy with my contribution? Why? Because I didn’t buy it the way they wanted me to. The companies only really want us to buy at release full price.

        But I wouldn’t have so much of their stuff if it weren’t for the consumer’s wealth of options: Second-hand, retail-sales, waiting for mark-downs, digital distro and yes even piracy has made it possible for me to even BECOME a customer of theirs, yet all they would see is an opportunist jumping on easy prey.

        Also not surprising to see that once again the most pirated games being the most successful and/or most risky products to buy.

  • Portal 2 (which I paid $80 for on the 360 and loved for the record) is the fifth most pirated PC game (a list which is staggering in the sheer numbers compared to the other consoles)

    Yet I thought “Piracy wasn’t an issue on Steam”, I thought Steam DRM was the best of it’s kind? Or so that’s what every second commenter on the internet tells me – what gives??

    • When people talk about Steam being the best kind of DRM it’s not very intrusive, helps you find what your looking for and can even update your video card drivers.

      As opposed to the systems other companies use which require you to register, log in, and install it on no more than 3 machines. Steam provides me with cloud saves so if I play a game elsewhere all my saves are there.

      Nobody ever said it was a bulletproof anti-piracy system, just that as DRM goes it’s one of the least intrusional. Pirates will always find a way.

      Heck if you made games that required a physical device to always be attached to the PC to play it, I would honestly give it a week.

      • that’s right.

        But also Valve did not say piracy wasn’t an issue because their games were not pirated. They said that the way they made games, and ran their Steam service meant they were still financially successful in spite of it, to the point that they won’t waste anybodies time in worrying about it like other companies do.

  • I have no intention of playing MW2 online. So I pirated it to play the SP for the story. It’s nothing amazing, hence why I didn’t pay. But I like games and I like gaming, so I try it out. I suppose if all my mates were playing it I would buy it to play with them, as I have just done with BF3 (even though I didn’t pirate this first, I just flat out bought it on Origin.)

    For me, I’ve pirated a lot of games, but then I’ve bought them after to play legitimately online. More recent examples, Saints Row: The Third. I thought it would be a dodgy GTA clone, but it’s BRIALLIANT! And the coop MP is easily the best part! Bought it the day after trying it out so I could play with friends. Amazing game, and I’d never have known if I couldn’t have played it first. I would never have dropped $90 for something like that without knowing first.

    So whilst these figures can seem large to the inexperienced eye – companies and studios; in actual fact I think they’d find they made more sales from these downloads than if there were no downloads at all. IMHO obviously.

  • thats 3,390,000 Sad Fifa users how the fuck can you even enjoy FIFA without online play i knoe the manager mode is fun but please Online Play in FIFA 12 is the shit.

  • Why are people pirating BF3 as you can do jack offline i mean all there is is the campaign, the ones that make sense are FIFA 12, Portal 2, Mario Galaxy 2, Gears of War 3 and Kinect sports season 2 (but i don’t blame them for pirating it because it’s not worth a 1 cent) also how come no one pirated Skyrim? I thought that would be at the top be a Single-player game.

  • 1 pirated game != 1 lost sale.. not even close in my opinion. I used to download games years ago, but the only reason was because I was too young and couldn’t afford to buy them. If it weren’t for me getting hooked on Quake III Arena and UT back in the day, I wouldn’t now own a shiteload of FPS games (among others). All purchased legit (some at stupid Aus prices too).

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