Study: $21m opening release window game piracy

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As the latest premium game titles become increasingly anticipated by consumers looking to play, data from Irdeto reveals that if a AAA title is pirated upon its launch, publishers can expect hundreds of thousands of downloads of illegal copies, resulting in massive revenue loss, according to research from digital platform security specialist Irdeto, who monitored P2P downloads of a pirated version of a major sports game title in two weeks following its release.

The most critical part of the release cycle is the first 14 days as the majority of activations occur during this period. For highly anticipated titles, this could include up to 80 per cent of sales, 50 per cent of which are within the first four days.

The title in question, which did not include anti-tamper protection, was cracked on the same day of its release. During the first two weeks, Irdeto detected 355,664 torrent downloads of the illegal copy of the title. Given the retail price of the game, this puts the total potential loss of revenue from P2P downloads at $21,336,283 (€18,650,471).

The research also found that the first day of release alone is crucial for the protection of a AAA title, as 12 per cent of the illegal P2P downloads occurred within the first day of the cracked copy appearing on the P2P networks (and a substantial number of these in the first hour).

“Piracy is a threat that is firmly established in the games industry and, as our research suggests, it can result in potentially huge revenue losses for publishers if their games are compromised within the 14-day window following release,” said Reinhard Blaukovitsch, Managing Director of Denuvo, Irdeto. “With this in mind, it is crucial for publishers to implement security strategies that make their games as difficult as possible to crack and reverse engineer. This way they will be able to better protect the revenues that allow them to continue to create such compelling games.”


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