ESA Slams Western European Nations for P2P Piracy

Western Europe is a hotbed of P2P piracy, said the Entertainment Software Association in a press release earlier today.

The trade group, which represents the interests of U.S. video game publishers, included its findings as part of a report to the U.S. Trade Representative by the International Intellectual Property Alliance.

The ESA says that it studied P2P sharing of 13 popular game titles in December, and logged nearly 6.5 million illegal downloads. Italy was the leading offender, followed by Spain, France, Germany and Poland.

The ESA also indicated that it found "high demand" for console and handheld titles, which it says translates to "widespread availability of circumvention devices and game copiers in many leading markets."

Here’s what the ESA had to say about Italy:

For a popular AAA racing title alone, Italy had close to 590,000 downloads… Telecom Italia’s networks were implicated in 11.6% of the completed downloads observed globally, making it the world’s most heavily utilized ISP in the course of the industry’s study… It was also found that with greater incidence of video game piracy through P2P networks, there appeared to be a corresponding and dramatic decrease in legitimate sales of entertainment software. Individual member company online monitoring confirms these trends.


The industry is also plagued by the easy availability online of circumvention devices, such as mod chips. This situation was exacerbated by a court decision in Bolzano, Italy, holding that mod chips were not illegal under Italian legislation implementing the EU Copyright Directive. Fortunately, the Supreme Court in 2006 reversed this court decision and found that circumvention devices are illegal under Italian law, but the damage was done and continues.

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  1. 0
    Freyar says:

    Knee Jerk Reaction: Fuck off.

    Restrospective Thought: Stop making crappy ports that are having flaws that PC software should not be seeing.  I’m getting tired of being shafted every time I pay $50 for a new game. I’m tired of getting shafted every time I pay $50 for a new game that turns out to be a rental.

    Don’t give me this "It wouldn’t happen if people didn’t steal" bull. I’m a paying customer for many different publishers and developers, but lately I have only been seeing a huge wave of stupidity move along in various ways that isn’t just affecting me. Stupid decisions are being made which is damaging the reputation of PC development work.

    —- There is a limit for both politicians against video games, and video games against politicians.

  2. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    Pirating has become a social movement. The CP owners the CP farms have to much power and influence on society. As they seek to gain absolute control over distribution they ensure that the CP creator/Artist is forced to become a pack animal they can make money from.

    Because the industry is insipid and pervasive I support civil disobedience, this is akin to the civil rights movement were a segment of the population is disrespected and walked on the common artist and consumer is fodder for CP/Corporate fascism.

    IMO they need to change business models to a profit focus (meaning free non profit shearing is legal)if its making money they have absolute right to a piece of that pie but the industry will have to give up its authoritative and top heavy nature and focus on gaining a portion of "data" sales via streamlined revenue streams IE they can produce something for 30-99$ as a special release then let licensees sell it burned to disk or drive or in a retail box for 1-30$ let the market and sellers drive prices and the media industry gain a steady 50% or so of the final sale. All of this will keep prices fluid and keep volume high and everyone from the retailer to the CP owner is making money and sustaining the industry instead of a stagnant and self damaging industry..

    If they did this infinite CP or "profit rights" would not effect the common man nor stagnate the industry in a vile and insipid way as it dose with the distribution focused model..
    /incoherent intellectual


    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes of transportation of story and thought, to take them from society you create a society of children and nannys, since adults are not required.

  3. 0
    SticKboy says:

    So nice to see that the denizens of continue to pat themselves on the back for ripping people off. It appears you all feel very proud – well done, I guess?

    Qualify it all you like, but piracy is dishonest – although you clearly have no problem justifying that to yourselves. Your short-sighted comments give hardworking gamers a bad name. I’m ashamed to think that one day I might bump into your kind on a Diablo 3 server or something.

  4. 0
    insanejedi says:

    1. I agree that DRM is bad but if it’s a feature that you do not like about the game, and will not play the game with it DO NOT BUY THE GAME. I don’t know where this justification of pirating because of DRM comes frome. People steal guns because of the whole registration process that gun-control law makes, but does that make it right? No! It’s completly unjustifiable. Don’t like it, don’t buy it. Like it, but don’t like what comes with it? Deal with it.

    2. Then you should do something about your government. We don’t live in a Nazi Dictatorship (however much that may seem) Organize protests against your government, people don’t like the fact you have to play censored versions of games that other people around the world enjoy. It’s a democracy, petition, protests, write letters, if you have enough people, the man will budge.

    3. THEN DON’T BUY THE GAME!!!11111 Why the hell can no one understand this concept of boycott is better than stealing. With stealing, the publisher only looks as that as a criminal loss and not a real action against anything. Do people steal Nike shoes to make their point about sweat shops in China? No. Why do it for games?

    4. A demo is not an obligation the publisher has to make to you. There are other aveneues to discover if you would want to buy a game or not, and that is called reviews, trailers, gameplay footage, and more. Do you sneak into a movie theater to watch the Dark Knight for half an hour before deciding if you wanted to pay for it or not? It makes NO SENSE.

    5. I can understand with this one (unlike all the others) but if you lost it, it’s generally your fault. Replicating information is a bit tricky because there are an equal amount of ligitimate uses for it, as well as an equal amount of illigedimate uses. Like with the comparason with other people, I guess you can photo copy pages of books, comics, and paintings and I don’t think that’s illegal to do so. So I guess this OKAY.

    6. Yeah, and with digital download being a new and upcomming thing it will generally make this excuse voided. but for now on old games, I don’t think the publisher, ESA, will necessarly care since for something thats 8 years old, it’s generally at a price of $5 to $10 that the publisher basically forgotten and all those games make up for about 0.1% of their revenue, and don’t turn a healthy profit. In somecases I think the developer would be more happy that your playing a game that they made a long time ago like Shogo, Vietcong, or some other game.

    7. Can’t afford it? Don’t buy it. A person who steals a $50 000 Cadilac because he runs on a 1400 month salary is still stealing. Games are a luxary, not a right.

  5. 0
    NovaBlack says:

    Only thing i disagree with is that a developer has ‘never got any reason’ to go through a publisher. Thats simply not the case. Would you like ot pay even $1million (a tiny fee) to develop a game? Where would you get that money.. do the devs work for free? (not gonna happen) What happens when it doesnt sell? How do you pay the wages / pay back the bank you got the loan from?


    With tiny development teams of 1 -2 ppl then yeah you may find this possible, but anything else.. sorry your just flat outta luck. The average wage for a developer in the uk is almost £30,000 alone..


  6. 0
    Galthromir says:

    As someone working in the industry, I’d like to try and shine a bit of light on some of your points. People don’t seem to realize what an enormus problem piracy is, often meaning the difference between a sequal being made or not.

    1. DRM – This I agree with you on. While in principle DRM is not a horrible idea, in practice it ends up alienating more customers than preventing pirates. However, if the technology was refined, if the plague of bugs and false positives could be erased, DRM could provide a semi-decent solution to piracy. After all, anti-piracy measures arn’t supposed to make it un-crackable (it WILL be cracked eventually), but exist to ensure that games cannot be pirated until a week or two after release.

    2. Unavailable due to legality – Again, not much argument from me here. While I would prefer that these people order it online, I understand that with shipping+game cost it is often preferable to just pirate it.

    3. Publisher/Developer is a prick – This is no reason to pirate a game. Even if the publisher IS a dick, you only end up hurting developers. If you like the game enough to pirate it, buy it instead! Otherwise that series that you enjoy is gonna stop right there. And lets be honest, you don’t really want to "stick it to the man", you want the game for free; this is just a nice "cool" excuse for it.

    4. No demo, and want to try it before I buy it – While in theory this is understandable, in practice far too often it is just another excuse to snag a game for free. I’ve known plenty of players who claim that if they like a game enough they’ll buy it…but don’t because they already have it for free. If you do try and then buy, kudos to you, but you are the exception, not the norm.

    5. Already own it – Again I agree (thats why I like programs such as Steam or Impulse that eliminate this problem), but its impossible to tell such people from legitimate pirates.

    6. Where did it go? – See #5.

    7. Price – This and your closing are where I strongly disagree with you. Unfortunatly its 3. am here and I need sleep if I want to keep my sanity. I’ll post this tommorow whenever I wake up >.<


  7. 0
    DeepThorn says:

    Reasons I have heard that people pirate:

    1. DRM – Mostly dealing with Spore and other EA games

    2. Unavailable other than illegally – Due to laws/government [no adult rating in AUS], remote location

    3. Publisher/Developer is a prick – I have heard this mainly from people who want games from EA, but hate EA with a passion.  A few times from people saying the same but with Activision. (Sounds like 2 companies that might want to kiss some ass to make some green, especially EA. [EA=rapist])

    4. No demo, and want to try it before I buy it – I am a person that does this, and have bought every game I have done this with and actually played more than 8 hours of.  [God I love Fallout 3…] I didn’t know if I wanted Spore or not, and the creature creator told me nothing about the stupid game.  It turned out I didn’t like the repetitiveness and just uninstalled it after a few hours of playing.

    5. Already own it – This could be someone lost the disc, the disc is damaged, or they just want the no-cd crack out of the pirated copy.  All in all, this is pretty common, and something I do with games I play now and then but often.

    6. Where did it go? – Like the unavailable, this can happen when a game is older, or otherwise can not be found anywhere.  Though I would say then get it on E-bay, but I understand why some people do not feel safe about buying things online.

    7. Price – The figures for what it takes to make a game go up in some areas and down in others.  In the end, it isn’t the developer getting the increase in money, but the publisher.  So when that happens, I know people that pirate because the publisher is RAPING the developer, and the developers need to get some balls and tell the publishers to screw themselves. 

    I really want to talk to some of these developers, because there is NO REASON AT ALL to go through a publisher today.  It cost less money to do it yourself than go through a publisher.  Yes it is more work and you have to hire more employees, but it pays out in the end.  For PC games, which is mostly what we are talking about here, online download is cheaper than disc, and becoming more common.  Then all you have to do is advertise and make sure your servers can handle the downloads.


    Nido Web Flash Tutorials AS2 and AS3 Tutorials for anyone interested.
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  8. 0
    NovaBlack says:

    Problem is.. it doesnt stop pirates for ‘ a week or two after release’. Pirates typically have a game pirated BEFORE release day in most cases nowadays.

    And howcome the DRM isnt removed at that point? Once its cracked t serves no purpose but to p*ss off the consumer.

  9. 0
    DarkSaber says:

    In the UK you are lucky to get this generation of console games second-hand for any more than £5 less than the brand new price through the stores.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  10. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:



    Counter…counter points…LOL

    Note:hard core is now a new class of zombie casual gamer, or hard core consumer of niche market. So instead I will call the proper knowageable gamer/consumer as enthusiast.



    The trouble is DRM is as unknown an element as “bad games” only the enthusiast is going to know about it before its to late.


    Cant argue with avablaity


    Bad/annoying/self righteous/bad publisher/dev is as effective in damaging sells as DRM the enthusiast will know the many wont care they are looking for their fix.


    Again demos and the right of return mostly effect enthusiasts and smart gamers casual or otherwise will always be wary of the inability to return shtty products.


    He is half right on price, look at the EU or Australia its 2-3 items as much as most other nations and some it’s even higher, this is all about greed of the publisher and the retail stores just look the other way.



    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes of transportation of story and thought, to take them from society you create a society of children and nannys, since adults are not required.

  11. 0
    NovaBlack says:

    hmm i respect your opinion.. but to say steam is ‘a bad system’?

    sorry… i disagree. I feel that the fact i can activate once online, then choose to play entirely offline from that point onwards, or remain online and receive free patches / updates / easy friend game find/joining  && not have to use the CD again, etc is entirely worth the burden of activating online once. The benefits (for me) FAR outweigh the negatives. That to me is a good system. Regular DRM doesnt have ANY benefits… hence consumers dont like it.

    Oh and point 4… just as a note.. ps3 is region free. I live in the UK and have bought (and currently play) several US games.

  12. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    And whats worse a 200$ collector ed has only 1 system version in it. the industry has to change or find itself invalid.

    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes of transportation of story and thought, to take them from society you create a society of children and nannys, since adults are not required.

  13. 0
    Wolvenmoon says:

    Reasons I’ve heard people pirate in most to least common:

    1.DRM. Even technology newbies are realizing that this DRM is what causes many crashes and incompatibility with new operating systems. Try running age of empires 2 in vista, or try rome total war. Now go download a crack and try. Works better now! Also, cracked copies are just easier, no activation limits, no CD requirements, faster loading times.

    Also 1, online requirements. Steam is a BAD system for this. It’s also easily bypassed. I do not buy my games on steam nor will I buy games that require it. (I had such high hopes for empire total war, too. Suppose I’ll skip it)

    2.Cost. 50 dollars for assassin’s creed? It’s a repetitive game worth maybe 20 dollars (what I paid for it) brand new at best. 60 dollars for what’s essentially a new graphics engine on a game? No way in hell. Or the best example, all the expansion packs for the sims. 50 dollars for the initial game then 30 dollars each for all 8 expansion packs? Yeah effing right. (I bought the compilation pack)

    3.Already own it on a different system/already own a copy and have family. One family I know of has 4 children. They all like star wars. Is it reasonable to expect them to pay 200 dollars so the kids can each play it, or play multiplayer? They like lord of the rings, too. Why in the world can’t they just do a site license?

    also 3: The company treats its consumers like crap. Really an amalgation of the other 3.

    4.Not available in a region/regional lockouts. An austrailian friend of mine, and a european friend of mine, were at one time considering trading movies as a type of cultural exchange. Unfortunately regional lockouts prevent this. Same problem in games. Even if you don’t translate it, sell it with no regional locking.


    Why should we justify it any further? These companies are perfectly fine making us spend hours upon hours of time digging through faqs to finally figure out on some obscure forum that the copy protection to your legitimately bought game is preventing you from playing it, and that removing it or pirating the game would have had you playing and enjoying it.

    I hear SO much about developers being short changed, boo hoo. My time is valueable too. The way I figure it you can either have my time or my money in exchange for a product, but not both.  Having an overclocked quad core system with a high end video card (Q9450 @ 3.0 GHZ, 9800GTX+, 8 gigs DDR2-800 RAM, built by me) and not being able to trust that a game I purchase will work out of the box is frusterating.

    Even worse is knowing that the no CD cracks on my legitimately owned product are just as risky as flat out pirating the game.

    The simple answer to this? Accept that no matter what you do there will be a 10% piracy rate on software, and that any action to stop it will only exacerbate the issue. Drop prices to where a new game can be an impulse buy, and don’t expect subscriptions or micropayments to solve the issue.



  14. 0
    NovaBlack says:

    ”was also found that with greater incidence of video game piracy through P2P networks, there appeared to be a corresponding and dramatic decrease in legitimate sales of entertainment software.”


    right… so it couldnt just be that these games are REALLY hard (and incredibly expensive) to get hold of in some parts of europe, often needing to be imported and pay around £100 when you’ve paid the import charges. So people opt to NOT buy the game. Because its ridiculously not worth the money. Then they download it instead. But taht doesnt mean that without the P2P, they wouldnt pay the £100 for the game. Not in any way shape or form.

    no .. couldnt be that.

  15. 0
    Bennett Beeny says:

    "If anything, the lack of supply to those countries because of localizing and region encoding and artificial scarcity is why those countries download so much."

    It’s not only other countries that are affected by this.  The US is also affected by games not getting distributed here.  Take EA Cricket for example – cricket is one of the most popular sports in the world, with more fans worldwide than any other sport except soccer, yet you can’t get EA Cricket in the US, and some stores in England ( for example) won’t export PC games to the US.  In such a situation, when a game is not available through normal channels) it’s no wonder that piracy occurs.

  16. 0
    Shadow D. Darkman says:

    "I’m sick of the ESA and how they repeatedly claim that damage is done, but no proof to show what damage that is, if any."

    Unlike SOMEONE ELSE that we know? *cough*Jack*cough*


    "Game on, brothers and sisters." -Leet Gamer Jargon

  17. 0
    JC says:

    Apparently "Demand" translates into widespread piracy. *gasp*

    The ESA’s claims get crazier and crazier. If anything, the lack of supply to those countries because of localizing and region encoding and artificial scarcity is why those countries download so much.

    These are unnamed titles, and nothing specific, for all we know it could be popular becuase it is something you can’t get normally. I’m sick of the ESA and how they repeatedly claim that damage is done, but no proof to show what damage that is, if any. I recall the industry growing even more this recent year, yet decrying used sales…and now piracy.

  18. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    And worse yet they just collect the money for the CP owners because all the tunes you can do on a bell are owned by them. =0-o=


    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes of transportation of story and thought, to take them from society you create a society of children and nannys, since adults are not required.

  19. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    Why do I get the feeling that if the industry gets it’s way men in suits will be waiting outside stores that play music to demand money because you heard it walking by?

  20. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    Ya that’s the crux and power of focusing on distribution, its pervasive and insipid because they can not stop trying to control every nuance of it, if it was profit focused we all would be better off..


    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes of transportation of story and thought, to take them from society you create a society of children and nannys, since adults are not required.

  21. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:


    I just had a thought, “Media industry sues guy for his neighbor recoding what the guy is playing on his own radio.  Film at 11 with redacted sound and images!“


    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes of transportation of story and thought, to take them from society you create a society of children and nannys, since adults are not required.

  22. 0
    DeepThorn says:

    Their methods, haha.

    DRM has proven to be more about the second hand market than piracy, and though they try to say otherwise, that is what they are really going after with DRM like SecuROM. These Greedy bastards know they lose more money to the second hand market than piracy.  The thing is, there is nothing they can morally or legally do about it within reason.

    If they would fire a few lawyers, they would open up some money, and maybe even more than they make from them.  There is a point where you are protecting your product because you are being ripped off, but there is a point where you are being a greedy bastard.  Spore and other EA DRM is greed bastard.  Now if it was a small company, I could understand where it would be getting ripped off, but I have yet to hear many smaller companies complain.

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  23. 0
    olstar18 says:

    Kinda like me with manga. I read scanlations and I am working on buying the series that I really enjoy but because of length cost and the slow release time (hellsing is 2 or 3 books behind stateside and only 1 is released a year) it takes a while to get them all. As for why they won’t do anything intelligent like offering high quality product as opposed to high quantitiy product its simply. They are lazy and havn’t figured out that the best selling games are not just big and fancy but have very few if any bugs and are an all around high quality product. And a number of companies (ea is really bad about this one) want to get the games out as fast as possible rather than slow down and give time to find and fix the bugs.

  24. 0
    Sporge says:

    While I understand companies are just trying to fight piracy I just horribly disagree with their methods.  If the product is good enough at a resonable price people won’t mind buying it as much, but if the products quality is questionable or there are no legal means to obtain it other than extremely tideous ways people will go for the easier illegal way.

    I also agree there are plenty out there who just steal, and really won’t change thier ways, and ultimately will go to extremes to prove they can’t be stopped, as the guy above me said "shrink".  Some is unstoppable, but rather than waste money fighting battles that in the end can only hurt you, why not spend it offering incentives for not illegally obtaining something?


  25. 0
    finaleve says:

    I wonder if all those areas recieve these games.  Cause then it would definitely remind me of that article with valve and how they cut back some piracy by making it available to an area that was not available to.

    This also reminds me of working at the supermarket.  They had this huge issue of whats called "Shrink", which was basically product that was lost (by theft, ruined/destroyed on the floor or in the backroom, etc).  One of the things that caught me was that they said there was no way they will stop all shrink as its nearly impossible to do.
    This is the industry’s "Shrink", if you will.  You can not stop piracy not matter how hard you try.

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