A new commission from the European Union has recently been uncovered as saying that video game piracy doesn’t actually negatively impact the sales of video games, and might actually benefit them when they’re bought legally. Along with that, lowering the prices of games might not decrease the amount of piracy.
Video game piracy has often been said to be the scourge of video game developers and one of the reasons for why games are so expensive. Piracy often allows players to be able to pick up “copies” of the game for free if they can crack the DRM around it, and every new game runs the risk of hackers doing so regardless of what platform it’s on.
Various studios have taken steps to decrease video game piracy by implementing various anti-pirating measures in their games, ranging from unkillable enemies to unwinnable scenarios, to various small inconveniences or jokes. However, with the EU commission’s new findings, is it possible that the effects are being exaggerated?
The commission’s investigation mainly focused around all forms of creative content, and most people were illegally downloading things like music and books and music. Only 18% of the survey respondents admitted to illegally downloading a video game while 16% admitted to playing on a chipped console.
Of course, there’s also a huge gap in this information: this is only in Europe. Piracy rates may be much higher in places like Asia and America, but there’s also the fact that with such low rates of people pirating games, it’s clear that piracy doesn’t dissuade someone from buying a game legitimately. This is in contrast to pirating movies, where 4 out of every 10 viewings of a movie are illegal.
The relative lack of piracy can be put down to game developers converting people to paying gamers rather than pirate gamers, but still, maybe there’s hope after all if there aren’t very many pirates, even if it’s just in Europe.