Feeds

Sims 3 pirated 180,000 times in three days

Beating Spore's download rate so far

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
TEEN RAMPAGE: Kids in iPhone 6 'Will it bend' YouTube 'prank'
iPhones bent in Norwich? As if the place wasn't weird enough
George Clooney, WikiLeaks' lawyer wife hand out burner phones to wedding guests
Day 4: 'News'-papers STILL rammed with Clooney nuptials
iPAD-FONDLING fanboi sparks SECURITY ALERT at Sydney airport
Breaches screening rules cos Apple SCREEN ROOLZ, ok?
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
A moment of brilliance? UPnP for Internet of Stuff lightbulbs
Thus doth tech of future illuminate present, etc
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
The British Museum plonks digital bricks on world of Minecraft
Institution confirms it's cool with joining the blocky universe
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.