Ok, so we want to research how much piracy costs the portable market. The methodology:
Researchers arrived at this number by searching for Japanese versions of the top 20 releases from 2004 to 2009 on the top 114 piracy sites around the world. The retail cost of the games and their ratio of sales were then factored in to determine the cost to the Japanese market; that figure was multiplied by four, “under the assumption that Japan accounts for 25 percent of the world’s software market,” to come up with the worldwide figure.
They came up with a figure of $41 billion.
Let us, for a moment, ignore the absurd notion that 1 download creates losses equal to the full price version of the game on launch day. I know it’s hard to ignore this, because it’s a very, very silly assumption. But I think it’s important to look past this pedestrian madness so we can examine the more unusual madness underneath.
The Nintendo DS has sold 128.89 million units to date. The PSP has sold 66.7 million. This comes to 195.59 million units. Those 195 million owners have managed to rip $41,000,000,000 USD from the hands of honest, hardworking game developers worldwide. If every single handhheld owner was a pirate and they all pirated in equal measure, then every one of them would need to steal $210 worth of software.
But not all of those units are in service. Some are broken, lost, or simply sitting in a drawer somewhere with a flat battery and a fine coating of dust. Then there are people who bought the DS Lite when they already owned a standard DS. So the actual number of active gamers is much lower than 195 million. And this study looked at activity over the past five years, but the distribution of portables was lower five years ago and sales have followed a nominal curve. And of course not all users are pirates.
I have no idea how you’d combine these userbase numbers to make them useful against the flat $41 billion figure because I never took any fancy statistics courses. The kind of courses you’d need to take if you were going to “research” piracy by Googling for pirate sites and multiplying by a number you made up.
And then there is the used game market. People have claimed that used game sales are eating 75% of the publisher profits. So even if these pirate sites went poof, it stands to reason that 75% of them would just buy used. (Ignoring the fact that many would just go without.)
And now we can circle back to the original point that not all downloads are lost sales.
What we have here is about the most absurd, sloppy, arbitrary, and lazy figure possible. It’s outrageous to even call this “research”. This is guesswork where all of your assumptions are tilted in favor of the conclusion you wanted to arrive at before you began collecting “data”. These guys are obviously charlatans, but I have to admit what they’re doing looks like fun.
Moreover, I want to try it:
Currently the ads on this site make me about $beer money per month. But! I get less than a million page views a month. Something like 10k visitors a day. (Google Analytics is hard for me to understand sometimes. But I’ll bet the researchers had a tough time squeezing data out of Pirate Bay, so it’s cool.) There are 390 million people worldwide with access to the internet. If all of them visited my site, my traffic would increase by a factor of 39,000.
In the end, all of you people who read this site but don’t forward links to your friends are costing me over one million dollars a month!
You people make me sick! You are stealing a million dollars worth of bread out of the mouths of my children. Do you know how much bread that is? And I’m not even talking about the expensive Pepperidge Farm stuff that’s all tiny and made of nutrients and comes in the fancy bag. No. We’re decent, honest, sensible people and we’d only buy the cheap stuff that’s mostly air and processed chemicals or whatever, so that the million bucks could go as far as possible.
But that’s not good enough for you people, is it? You’d rather see us all starve because of your selfishness. I hate you so much.
Anyway, thanks for visiting and be sure to visit my sponsors!
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