The Numbers Behind The Piracy Of A Popular Steam Game

Boxing management tycoon Punch Club hit the top Steam charts at launch, marking it as a game that did well on the digital storefront. Even so, the number of people who pirated the game vastly overshadows the number of people who actually bought it.

Developers Tiny Build wrote a post today detailing the piracy data surrounding their latest ame, Punch Club, and it’s a mighty interesting read. Apparently, Punch Club copies are all implanted with analytics that allow the developers to determine whether players have purchased the game. Tiny Build found out that, for every copy of the game sold, four more people have pirated it.

As of this writing, Punch Club has 300k legit owners overall, and 1 million PC pirates. On mobile, numbers are a little different: only 500k pirates, which doesn’t sound as bad, comparatively speaking, until you remember that’s still hundreds of thousands more downloads than purchases. Damn.

I don’t find any of this surprising in theory — the piracy rate is probably worse for bigger games — but still, when I look at the raw numbers, the difference in sales vs piracy feels staggering. Fortunately, the piracy rate here doesn’t seem crippling, as Tiny Build seems to be doing just fine. If nothing else, it’s cool to get some hard analytics on piracy, as it is a subject that many developers don’t talk about.

If you’re interested, Tiny Build breaks down the data further in regards to how localisation affected the piracy of Punch Club, and you can read more about that here.

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