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Envisional Claims UK Internet Video Game Piracy Has Grown by 20 Percent

Posted: 11th Nov, 2011 By: MarkJ
pirate flagThe Cambridge-based anti-piracy firm Envisional, which offers services that help to detect and guard against the threat of internet copyright infringement, claims in its latest research that the number of "illegally" pirated video games by broadband ISP customers in the UK has risen by almost 20% over the past five years.

The firm, which earlier this year claimed that "illegal" film piracy by UK internet users had grown 30% over the same period (here), also warned that last year's top 5 video games were downloaded nearly 1 million times. This appears to be taken from their July 2011 report and isn't especially new information.

2010 uk internet piracy

Naturally it costs a huge amount of money to develop modern video games and the industry frequently claims to be losing hundreds of jobs and millions of pounds to piracy. It's a serious problem but measuring the impact is always difficult and Envisional clearly has a vested interest in that outcome.

Today's BBC article also highlights a practical example of how somebody who downloaded 100 games in a single year actually ended up buying 50 of them, which just goes to show why the practice of attributing one lost sale to every download remains deeply flawed. Assessing the true impact is incredibly difficult.

A quick trip over to read the opinion of Open Digital's James Firth also pointed us in the direction of this July 2011 article at the New York Times, which claimed that "the video game industry is expected to continue growing at a rapid pace for several years to come."

Indeed analyst firm Gartner noted that game-related spending would reach $112 billion by 2015, with related spending in 2011 expected to "exceed $74 billion, up from $67 billion on games in 2010". Based on these figures the suggestion appears to be that, proportionally speaking, video game piracy hasn't changed much and might have even shrunk. As ever such predictions are open to interpretation, which is why we need proper independent research to be conducted before ISPs are forced into taking any new measures.
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