Officials from the UK video game trade organization ELSPA (Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association) have announced that over £4 million ($7.7m) worth of pirated software was recovered in the United Kingdom last year. A total of 538 raids were carried out in the country, resulting in the successful prosecution of 67 software pirates.
Roger Bennett, director general of ELSPA, commented: "We have seen an encouraging set of results from the past few years which reflect the outstanding efforts of our tireless anti-piracy team and its strong relationships with Trading Standards, Police and other industry trade bodies. While this is just the tip of the iceberg, we are committed to increasing the pressure on criminal activity that undermines the performance of not only our members, but of the industry as a whole."
John Hillier, manager of ELSPA's Anti-Piracy Unit, said: "We are stepping up our investigations into Internet piracy for 2005, building relationships with service providers and maintaining close observations on potentially illegal trading. Whilst we are fully aware of the potential risks to the industry from this kind of piracy, as it currently stands the main threat on the streets today remains the more 'traditional' dealer in physical products."
Software piracy has a muddied history with many British gamers, in part stemming from the 8-bit days and the popularity of audio cassette-based computers such as the Sinclair Spectrum and Commodore 64.
In more recent times, the question of piracy has remained prominent in some consumer’s eyes due to the prevalence of 'mod chips' that allow legitimate imported games from America and Japan to be played on British consoles, since these 'mods' will also often play pirated games. The demand for such devices is high in the United Kingdom, usually as a result of notable titles (such as Nintendo's Animal Crossing
) being significantly delayed, or even denied a UK release altogether by lethargic publishers.