Wednesday, May 15, 2013

BitTorrent study at Universities suggests video game industries misreport illicit digitial downloads

     Per Aalborg University, Northeastern University and "Copenhagen Business School analyzed a filesharing of some 173 computer games over a three-month period between 2010 and 2011." Their objective was to shed light on a subject that doesn't receive much attention; besides what we are told by the industries. "The Entertainment Software Association claims that it had tracked almost 10 million illegal downloads of around 200 games in December 2009. Meanwhile Torrent Freak reported 18.14 million downloads for the five most downloaded PC games on BitTorrent in 2010, with a further 5.34 million downloads of the five most downloaded console games.". This is a huge discrepancy.

     The video game industry reported 10 million illegal video game downloads in the month of December 2009. Torrent Freak stated that there were around 23 million illegal game downloads in all of 2010. If Torrent Freak is to be believed, that averages out at a little under two million illegal downloads a month. If the Entertainment Software Association is to be believed then it would be ten million downloads per month, or more than five times the number of illegal downloads that Torrent Freak reported. It seems logical that it is some intermediary number between two million and ten million downloads per month, the issue is the giant gap reported.

     According to the actual study "They found that 12.6 million unique peers [were sharing illicit video games over a 3 month period]." The study favors TorrentFreak's projection, at an average of about 4.2 million illicit downloads per month. If video game industries are over reporting the amount of illegal downloads, then what is to stop the movie industry and other entities who want to gain momentum for web censorship? We already know that the Movie Picture Association of America supported legislation like SOPA.

     Can we really trust those who stand to gain from anti-piracy legislation to report honest numbers?

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