UKIE’s Fuzzy Piracy Math

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 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.

Sources, BBC NewsBeat

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  1. 0
    Prof_Sarcastic says:

    Yeah, the 4:1 figure is clearly just a couple of numbers pulled out by a proctologist, but it seems the made up numbers are coming from their publishers, not UKIE directly.  At worst they’re guilty of reporting hearsay. I do however have to give them credit for admitting that the 1.45 million figure dies NOT represent actual losses.


  2. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    Piracy numbers are only good for one thing, how mnay people you are underservering across the board.

    THis of it as a always shifting and changing number of people in the market you are not pentratring and seling directly to them. Used sale counts as well. It simply means you need to do more to ofer your IPs through more venues at lower prices.

    I have a dream, break the chains of copy right oppression!

  3. 0
    MechaTama31 says:

    Is that second one supposed to be 1.45 million, or is it the same 1.45 billion referenced before?  And are these real billions or British billions (trillions)?  😉

  4. 0
    Sleaker says:

    Totally with Shahab on this one.  Piracy doesn’t necessarily reduce the number of sales by the amount of games being downloaded directly.  You can’t take into account through these figures people that downloaded the game and then bought it, along with those that refuse to buy because of price, or hold of buying till price drops.

    Also, as Shahab pointed out.  Often times (and very much so in Ubisofts case)  having DRM free games and being able to install on more than one computer is giving someone better customer service than purchasing from them.

    I wonder if these figures take into account Free Private MMO servers and such.  Often times people migrate because of poor customer satisfaction, but if they did include lost MMO revenue I think this number is definetely inflated.

    My Steam Library is also very large, and for a lot of good reasons.  Valve knows how to handle customers, and their stance is that DRM doesn’t help anybody, at all.

  5. 0
    Shahab says:

    I like how they say it can provide gamer’s with a substandard product when in reality the pirated product is superior to the retail version, as there is no DRM, it can be installed on as many computers as one wants with no restriction, as it should be.

    Anyway, the majority of games I play I purchase. Piracy can be a great way to test a game before you buy it, since you can not return a game that is buggy, unfinished, or in some other way defective. If things weren’t so stacked against the consumer maybe piracy would not be as pervasive as some claim it is.

    If you look at my Steam account alone it has over $2000 worth of legitimately purchased games on it. I really only buy games through services like Steam and Good Old Games anymore, as they allow you do install on multiple computers, you can download the title anywhere you have an Internet connection, and with Good Old Games there is NO DRM.

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