Spore Tops List of 2008’s Most Pirated PC Games

Despite its nasty DRM scheme, EA’s Spore tops the list of most pirated games for 2008, according to TorrentFreak.

Although EA downplayed the stats on Spore piracy, TorrentFreak stands by its numbers:

When we posted about the impressive download rate on Spore – inflated due to the DRM that was put into the game – EA doubted our statistics. EA’s Mariam Sughayer said that every BitTorrent download was not a successful copy, and that several downloads didn’t work, were buggy, or contained viruses. We wont deny that on badly moderated torrent sites, malicious torrents probably can be found. However, this constitutes less than 1% of the available torrents, and they are not added to our statistics.

Here’s the Top Ten (all are PC titles) along with their d/l count:

  1. Spore     (1,700,000)   
  2. The Sims 2     (1,150,000)
  3. Assassins Creed     (1,070,000)
  4. Crysis     (940,000)
  5. Command & Conquer 3     (860,000)
  6. Call of Duty 4     (830,000)
  7. GTA San Andreas     (740,000)
  8. Fallout 3     (645,000)
  9. Far Cry 2     (585,000)
  10. Pro Evolution Soccer 2009     (470,000)  
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  1. insanejedi says:

    Or people will just pirate it anyways and whenever they get the chance to be questioned, they will just use the DRM as a scapegoat. I’m getting the feeling that the people pirating this stuff would pirate it anyways with or without the inclusion of any DRM of any sort. I mean if Spore was DRM free tomorrow, I highly doubt the several thousads of people even 10 thousand would go out and buy Spore tomorrow, because they will see the $50 price tag on store shelves and just shrug and leave the store just to play it on their computers when they come home. "I have it for free, why the hell would I buy it?"

  2. HungryHungryHomer says:

    San Andreas? Really? How the hell does a three year old game rank on the top ten of pirated games?

  3. Faceless Clock says:

    The lesson EA will take from this will undoubtedly be that their programs lack sufficent DRM protection, and they need to step things up.

    They’re one of the blindest companies in business today. I feel sorry for people who’ve invested in them. They may have decent games and they may look good throughout this down market, but they fundamentally do not understand that their products need to conform to the market. Instead, they believe the market should conform to their products.

    If they continue this line of thinking, then EA will be in shambles in a decade or so.

    The Honest Game – http://www.thehonestgame.org

  4. -Jes- says:

    Quite frankly, 9 out of 10 times the only way games get out on torrents in the first place, are because someone leaks them from closed network rings. These rings should add at least 20% to the shown download counts (they are many and they are large).


    And THEN consider, that not everyone actually downloads the torrents themselves.. Friends usually let one with a bigger line fetch for them, and then share at smalltime parties like a pack of bunnies procreating.


    Why do they think the grand lanparties of yore were slammed down upon by police in the first place? Those things were warez-fests, like letting a horde of raging babies into the world’s biggest candy-store. FAR from everyone who has a pirated game actually downloaded it themselves.


    If EA doubts that their games are in the million illegit copies range.. Then they are SORELY mistaken.

    Yessiree, that SecuRom DRM sure makes life miserable for the pirates.. Just like StarForce 3… [/SARCASM]

  5. Ashkihyena says:

    Thats true, but something still tells me it’ll probably get pirated to hell and back just cause of the inclusion of SecuRom, people hate any kind of SecuRom because of the rumors and info about what it does to your PC.

  6. Father Time says:

    From what I hear they have securom light, no install limit, only an online activation and apparently they have an emergency route for those who aren’t online.


    "What for you bury me in the cold cold ground?" – Tasmanian devil

  7. Ashkihyena says:

    Who wants to bet that GTA IV will be on this list next year since Rockstar decided to include SuckuRom on it.

  8. Spartan says:

    The funny thing those numbers dont even count the private community trackers, where you are 100% sure not to get a fucked up torrent. I also think seven of those titles have SuckROM.


    "The most difficult pain a man can suffer is to have knowledge of much and power over little" – Herodotus

  9. sheppy says:

    Far be it for me to question stats like that but to me that seems astronomically high.  Here’s why.  Their measure is based on leaderboard stats.  Now, I played the demo and I know that you can have multiple profiles on one copy, yes?  So it stands to reason that using a metric which isn’t limited to one user, one copy seems foolish to say the least.  Especially since of the people I know who bought World of Goo, it stands as a "friendly competition" game between girlfriends and boyfriends.  One legit copy I know holds over 12 different profiles just by being in a house with a lot of girls and visiting friends.  This is why any attempt to make these numbers known is laughable at best.

    Take Crysis.  Remember when they jumped out and said for every one copy they sold, 15 copies were stolen?  This means Crysis, according to them, is the most played game ever because Crysis sold 1.9 million copies.  If piracy wasn’t around, they could have sold 30.1 million copies…. yeah… right.

    Wall of Text Simulation- Insert coin to continue.

  10. NovaBlack says:

    lol the funny thing is, check out this article..



    In it the world of Goo developers say that even with the 90% piracy rate, they STILL CONSIDER DRM A WASTE OF TIME!

    Thye compared world of goo (with drm) to another game they released ‘ricochet’ (without drm) and said that the piracy rate was near identical for each.

    Showing that paying to use and implement DRM is a waste of money, and ultimately only causes problems for consumers.

  11. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Becuse its a cult hit…….


    Popularity is a driving factor but because its there would be the main one, think of downlaoders as free roaming hippie mountaineers …I smoked it because it’s there mmaaannnnn……..

    No bad…….anyway a base is formed from because its there add in popularity from mainstream or cult/non mainstream sources drives it up even more.


    A lot of the non mainstream numbers can be from “boycotters” and anti DRMers or those that bought the game but refuse to run the software with the crappy DRM on it.

    Pirates,Shearers,Lenders and downloaders are not a market that can be taped by the mainstream.
    I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=

  12. hayabusa75 says:

    Maybe it’s not on there because the list isn’t based on percentages…?

    "There is no sin except stupidity." – Oscar Wilde

  13. Wolvenmoon says:

    Chinese piracy (China leads the piracy curve, with 88% of all software being pirated, there are only a few countries higher) is done once, then copies are resold for about 1/30th the retail price.

    Friend of mine in China on a trip saw a lucasarts+EA mega pack that claimed to have over 130 games in it for the equivelant of 50 U.S.D.

    Their servers are cracked to let them play the pirated games, too, so they aren’t in the slightest bit inconvenianced by piracy. The ‘anti-piracy’ stuff the chinese government is putting out is a fascade, they don’t enforce it nor care to.

  14. Wolvenmoon says:

    They don’t compare because people rent the games, copy ’em, and send them back. No chance of getting caught beyond anti-modchip stuff.

    it’s why they want to stop rentals, and do account-based stuff. Unfortunately bnetd set a bad precedent in U.S. courts, even though blizzard cheated their way out of it. So it’s gonna be a long fight, and we’ll probably end up being as big a technology name as singapore or china if it draws out too long.

    That is to say, well known for low-tech crap and shoddy factory labor.

  15. ZippyDSMlee says:


    Going to get a upsurge in "shearing" on bad DRM ridden titles and also on general popularity of a title, in this case both have pushed the titles listed into the stratosphere.


    I wonder how the 360 numbers compare….oh that’s right…they won’t admit the 360 is easier to pirate for…


    Pirates,Shearers,Lenders and downloaders are not a market that can be taped by the mainstream.
    I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=

  16. ZippyDSMlee says:

    4,650,000…is that milloin?…thats awfully low for world wide….I mean think of the scale….
    Pirates,Shearers,Lenders and downloaders are not a market that can be taped by the mainstream.
    I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=

  17. MechaCrash says:

    The version of Fallout 3 that got leaked was the 360 version, which this torrent site may or may not be counting. However, something worth noting is that Fallout 3 only had a disc check, and even that was easily bypassed because the check was on the launcher, and not the executable itself. So start the executable directly and there you go. So I think that may also play into its lower numbers.

  18. DeepThorn says:

    1. Sep. 08 – Spore (1,700,000)  Electronic Arts – Was on torrent sites at least 1 week before game release.
    2. Sep. 04 – The Sims 2 (1,150,000) Electronic Arts – Oldest game in the top 10 at 4 years old.
    3. Apr. 08 – Assassins Creed (1,070,000) Ubisoft
    4. Nov. 07 – Crysis (940,000) Crytek & Electronic Arts
    5. Mar. 07 – Command & Conquer 3 (860,000) Electronic Arts
    6. Nov. 08 – Call of Duty 4 (830,000) Activision
    7. Jun. 05 – GTA San Andreas (740,000) R* & T2
    8. Oct. 08 – Fallout 3 (645,000) Bethesda – Was on torrent sites at least 3 weeks before game release.
    9. Oct. 08 – Far Cry 2 (585,000) Ubisoft
    10. Oct. 08 – Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 (470,000) Konami – Avaliable in Europe 1 month before North America.

    So 4 of the games were published by Electronic arts…  totaling in at 4,650,000 d/l count.  Though the EA executive is right that these numbers don’t directly mean that that is the exact number of lost sales, you also have to figure in the fact that games are traded illegally in other ways, and on secret sites that almost no one knows about other than the extremely few elite people allowed on the site, which even if you go to the site you can not tell what it is because they have a fake site up in place of it hiding it.  (Kind of like the prohibition, but online, haha.)

    Does anyone else have any additional information?

    Nido Web Flash Tutorials AS2 and AS3 Tutorials for anyone interested.
    How to set Xbox 360 Parental Controls

  19. Michael Chandra says:

    "let alone a lost sale" HAH! And yet here they always claimed every download was a lost sale!

    "TorrentFreak is not new at this, and we know how to tell the difference between an incomplete, a virused, buggy, or even encrypted with a password, and one that would work if downloaded. To attempt to spin it otherwise is rude and condescending, and shows how hard EA is attempting to salvage the reputation of itself, and Spore." Ni~ice.

  20. Doomsong says:

    Love it.

    "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" – Benjamin Franklin

  21. CyberSkull says:

    Doesn’t surprise me at all. A cracked copy wouldn’t have the system-molesting SecuROM installed.

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