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Link Between Critic Reviews and Pirate game Downloads

Link Between Critic Reviews and Pirate game Downloads

A new study has popped up that shows a solid link between critic reviews and the number of times a game is download by “pirates”.  While this would seem like a foregone conclusion, research like this can be quite important as while there is a lot hearsay on the “damages” of piracy, it’s not really clear how proliferant it actually is.

The three main people behind the study were Anders Drachen, Kevin Bauer and Rob Veitch. In total they researched 173 games, of which they found 127 were available on BitTorrent websites.

Dailytech reported the download stats as: “Fallout: New Vegas” 962,793 downloads; “Darksiders” 656,296 downloads; “Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit”  656,243 downloads; “NBA 2k11” 545,559 downloads; “TRON Evolution” 496,349 downloads; “Call of Duty: Black Ops” 469,864 downloads; “Starcraft 2” 420,138 downloads; “Star Wars the Force Unleashed 2″415,021 downloads; “Two Worlds II” 388,236 downloads, and “The Sims 3: Late Night” 356,771 downloads.”

It turns out that there was a strong correlation between well reviewed games and those that were downloaded the most. Those with the highest review scores ended up with the highest download rates.

“The result indicates a statistically significant positive relationship between the number of unique peers and aggregated review scores,” said the paper. “Put differently, Metacritic Scores explain 10 percent of the variance in the unique peers per game on BitTorrent.

While this finding is hardly worth noting, the download statistics are an interesting read. If compared with real world sales, it might make for some rather useful data to provide companies that claim they are losing millions to piracy.

My stance is that most of those that downloaded those games wouldn’t have bought them otherwise. Ultimately, I know game making is a business, but it’s also an art form, as long as you’re living from your art, you should be pleased. People are playing your games. Be happy with that.

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