Piracy in gaming is huge. The earliest form of illegal practices in computer gaming I can remember is a person buying a game and giving it to a friend to copy in exchange for a copy of his game. Gaming companies wised up to that and today most PC games come with some kind of protection so that they cannot be copied and distributed.
Of course, as gaming companies have gotten smarter, so have the gamers. Gaming piracy is still rampant on the Internet and torrents are one of the fastest ways a person can get hold of a pirated game. In fact, TorrentFreak recently released their list of the top 10 most pirated games of the year, which made for some interesting reading.
At the top of this unofficial list is Electronic Arts’ Spore. The game has been downloaded 1.7 millions times since it was released in September. The top position can be attributed to the game’s ridiculous DRM, which allowed a user who purchased a legitimate copy to install the game only three times. Spore also holds the distinction of being the most downloaded torrent on Piratebay for a full week, a rare feat for a game.
Other games released this year that have made it to the list include Fallout 3 (#8), Far Cry 2 (#9), and Pro Evolution Soccer (#10). The second to the seventh positions on the list are occupied by older games like the Sims 2, Crysis, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, etc. In most cases, these games were available on torrent sites well before their actual release.
The general trend in gaming piracy seems to be greater the copy protection, the more chance a game will be pirated. Price is also an issue that encourages piracy. If I’m paying $50 for one game, I wouldn’t want to have my gaming experience restricted in any way. Another factor that promotes piracy is that games are often not released worldwide at the same time. So while a U.S. resident gets first crack at a game, the same title may only be available for purchase to someone across the world after some months.
Ironically, piracy can sometimes be used as an indicator of a game’s popularity. Almost all of these games occupy a position in the ‘best-selling games list’ released by Amazon. What do you think of the top ten games on the list? Is there a game you expected to see on it? What would you like gaming companies to do to ensure that games don’t get pirated? Let me know in the comments.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.