Publishing trade group UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE) released estimates that for every game sold at retail four games are pirated. Director general Michael Rawlinson told GamesIndustry.biz that the group plans to commission "thorough research into the problem," though it probably should have done that before throwing the 4-to-1 figure out to the general public.
"Based on information received from a number of publishers we have estimates of games piracy running at between 4:1 against legitimate sales," said Rawlinson.
Rawlinson says that a recent report in the BBC's Newsbeat ("High Street retail lost £1.45 billion in 2010 due to piracy") is based on a "conservative guess using "the equivalent of console software sales in the UK last year."
"We took a conservative position of saying if this is only 1:1 across all titles it would have a retail equivalent value of £1.45million. We did not say this was the loss to industry," offered Rawlinson. "What is clear is people who 'share' games via P2P networks or buy illegal copies are not buying the real product, and this reduces retailer sales. It can provide the consumer with a sub-standard product and money paid to illegal traders does not flow back to the creative."
Of course, he acknowledged that finding the real cost of piracy to developers and publishers is difficult to calculate but promised to commission some serious research on the subject.