Monday, June 29, 2009

PC Game Sales vs Steals (Week 3)

As explained last week I have decided to document and compare the PC games sales charts to pirated PC game activity. Each week I will present the sales charts, along with the top 10 most active PC game torrents from a popular torrent hosting site.

Unfortunately, it seems as though Direct2Drive has delayed releasing this week's top 10 sales chart. As such, I am only able to present the Steam sales chart for comparison with the most active torrent list. As soon as Direct2Drive's list is out, I will update this post.

Steam Top Sellers (by revenue, 6/21 - 6/27)

1.ARMA 2
2.Overlord II
3.Empire: Total War
4.Left 4 Dead
5.Prototype
6.Counter-Strike: Source
7.Team Fortress 2
8.Killing Floor
9.Empire Total War: Elite Units of the West
10.Dawn of Discovery

Most Active Torrents (6/29)

Seeds Leechers
1.Prototype24626325
2.NBA Live 200824875762
3.Grand Theft Auto 44823786
4.Overlord II10543133
5.Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare13233067
6.ARMA 2852447
7.Empire: Total War Special Forces Edition5462386
8.Fallout 315402203
9.The Sims 2 (incl. all expansion packs)5642104
10.X-Men Origins: Wolverine7062082

The most active PC game torrent list is presented with the number of Seeds and Leechers. Simply put, Seeds corresponds to the number of people who are uploading or sharing the game, whereas Leechers corresponds to the number of people who are downloading the game. One thing to note is that duplicates were not included in the most active torrent list. As a result, the presented number of Seeds and Leechers does not necessarily correspond to the total number of pirated game copies.

This week's Steam sales chart sees the introduction of newly released games ARMA 2, Overlord II, and Dawn of Discovery. The first two titles seem to contribute to Prototype losing its number one spot on Steam, held for the past two weeks.

However, despite falling on Steam, Prototype is able to keep its number one spot on the Most Active Torrents list, with more than double the leechers than Overlord II. Given the nature of torrents, this is not totally unexpected. Being peer-to-peer, those torrents that are popular tend to remain popular for long periods of time, as evidenced by the existence of Fallout 3 and Grand Theft Auto 4 on this week's Most Active Torrents list.

More surprising is the staying power of NBA Live 08. Entering the Most Active Torrents list last week, I attributed its appearance to the recently concluded 2009 NBA Finals. Since then, however, the number of leechers has doubled. Perhaps this is a trend Electronic Arts, publisher of the NBA Live series, can profit from. Promoting an existing sports game, while providing a price cut, during the conclusion of a sport's season could breathe new life into an aged game. Then again, increased sales in last year's game could jeopardize sales for the upcoming game.

In terms of relating PC game sales to PC game piracy, nothing conclusive can yet be drawn from such a small sample size. One trend that seems to be apparent over the last three weeks, is that popular torrents are able to remain popular for much longer than their legitimate counterparts, at least those counterparts on Direct2Drive and Steam. This is evidenced by Grand Theft Auto 4, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, The Sims 2, and Fallout 3. Hopefully further trends can be deciphered next Monday, when four weeks worth of listings will be available.

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