Sims 3 pirated 180,000 times in three days
Beating Spore's download rate so far
So much for Electronic Arts' open palm approach to video game piracy. The game maker nixed its draconic digital rights management (DRM) for The Sims 3, and the game's already on track to being pirated more often than Spore — counted as the most pirated game of 2008.
The game's official release isn't until June 5 but leaks were spotted on torrent trackers as early as last week.
Between May 18 and May 21, The Sims 3 has been downloaded on file-sharing sites more than 180,000 times according to P2P bean counting firm, BigChampagne (hey, we didn't name 'em). That figure represents about $9 million in theoretical sales — emphasis on the theoretical.
The game maker claims in the Bloomberg piece that the pirated version of Sims 3 is a "buggy, pre-final build" with half the world missing. A few nasty little birdies tells us this isn't the case anymore. (Note: We haven't confirmed the downloads ourselves).
EA's previous mega-franchise to hit the streets, Spore had a track record of about 400,000 illegal downloads over three weeks, according to a report on Bloomberg. That's about 133,000 if you chop it down to a per week basis for a better comparison.
Many (including El Reg itself) argued that DRM restrictions in Spore were not only completely ineffectual in curtailing piracy, but singularly punished its legitimate paying customers. While retail copies were stricken by install limits, online activation, and the notoriously shady SecuROM PC monitoring software, pirated copies were cracked and distributed easy as you please without DRM.
A further leap in this line of logic is that DRM actually leads honest folks into piracy. That well may be, but removing overbearing DRM didn't seem to do the trick in this case either.
It's doubtful a majority of those who pirated the game will purchase a retail copy on release, but some will. And surely a good number who illegally downloaded Sims 3 won't purchase the game even if a pirated copy wasn't available. It boils down to the fact that the effects of software piracy isn't anything near an exact science. I's important to have an eye roll ready whenever you hear someone equate illegal downloads directly with lost sales.
EA is doubtlessly going to make a bundle on the game, piracy or no. But here's the hook: The company is under no obligation to base its DRM policy on facts. Rampant Sims 3 theft could be the perfect justification to dial the DRM restrictions to 11 in future titles.
Essentially, for the buying customer, it's bastards at both ends. ®
luckily, the 3 activation limit on Spore has no affect on me as the game was so repetitive, after my last reinstall of windows I've not used the game, wish I had pirated it, what a waste of money
I smell bullshit
And this has no reflection on any impact of potential sales.
The leaked copy would have been DRM free anyway (unless the developers work on builds with DRM already on them (which they don't)).
The people that are downloading it now are probably doing so simply because it is available. If it was available to buy they probably would have done that first.
This is EA bullshit, planned to support their DRM driven games dream.
It's not stealing....
To me it's just 'sampling'.
I sample, I decide, I buy retail or I delete...
Seems fair to me.
I'm going to download it- and if I like it- I'll buy it
My wife used play a lot of SIMs- I'm going to download the unfinished copy- and if we like- we will be top of the queue to buy it. Its total bullshit that every download equates to a lost sale- I'd wager that a significant number of downloads translate into sales that might not otherwise have occurred...... Personally- I'd not buy it without trying it- my console of choice is the PS3- my wife the Wii.......
MAC games support, I'm waiting!
My missus is waiting for her copy of Sims to arrive. EA have put Windows/MAC split disc, so I want to support more games on Mac, so I have resisted the urge to rip it off for her, so she can support Mac games.
I used to rip stuff for the sake of it, but moving from PC to console has ensure that I don't anymore. Something nice about ordering from an online store, and then waiting all day at work knowing that your your little tiny piece of joy is waiting in a cardboard box when you get home after a miserable day. Not the same when you can pull a copy down in 90 minutes, then throw it away if you don't like it.
I find I have learnt to be a lot more careful about what I waste my money on in general now, not just games. I try to get demos where possible or rent the game first, to make sure it's OK. If it's crap, you get nothing from me games companies apart from maybe my £3 rental from Blockbuster!