A British study released today has outlined what author Alex Dodge from the Brunel School of Business Management calls a “piracy model”, describing the actions and motivations of video game pirates.
The study analyzed questionnaire responses from 217 frequent gamers based in the United Kingdom, in which it was found that almost 80 percent had illegally pirated games at some stage in their life, with this figure rising to over 84 percent in the 15 to 18 year old age group.
Interestingly, 72 percent of respondents indicated they would pirate video games if they had to wait for a game to be released in the UK, or if it was not scheduled to be released at all. This particular question shows the importance of simultaneous worldwide release (or at least, Western release) for major new games, since well-publicized delays for games such as Animal Crossing
have led to both gray imports and increased temptation for piracy.
Continuing the survey, 65 percent of respondents said they played pirated games because they feel their chances of getting caught are low, while 80 percent mentioned the ease of downloading games via the Internet as a reason for playing pirated games. Most interestingly, 58 percent of those questioned said that they did not subsequently buy a game they downloaded, apparently disproving the claim that many pirates are merely attempting to “try before they buy”.
"This study shows very clearly the drivers behind videogame piracy", Alex Dodge explains: "Most respondents who have and will continue to illegally download games are young males, between 15 and 19 years old. They feel video games are too expensive and resent the long wait for many games released in the U.S. or in Asia before the UK. With a high level of computer literacy, it's easy for them to find a game online and download it. Their friends all do it and why shouldn't they?"
"The majority of pirates seem to be teenagers, who are costing the manufacturers billions each year." Alex comments: "The message to manufacturers is clear: to minimize illegal downloading, ensure worldwide product releases, lower prices, and make it harder to pirate."