PSP Piracy is Trending Up, Despite Sony’s Claims

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Sony claims that there is a downward trend for pirated PSP games, and that more people are handing over money for games, to join what the company calls "the good side". It is unclear where Sony sourced this data, but statistics gathered from BitTorrent trackers show an increase in PSP piracy.

psp piracyFilesharing, in all its forms, has been growing steadily for quite a few years now, much of which can be credited to the ever increasing popularity of BitTorrent. It was therefore a surprise to read that Sony claims that the number of downloads for pirated PSP games was going down.

Sony’s PSP Product Manager John Koller told Multiplayer recently “[There] certainly has been some piracy on the PSP. We’ve seen that as a significant issue — it’s trending down right now, we’ve seen the piracy not be as such prevalent in the last month to two months”

According to Koller, more and more PSP users are joining the “good side” and standing up for the intellectual property rights of the company. “We’ve noticed there’s kind of a ‘good vs. evil’ battle that we track on many of the forums and many of the pirated web sites,” he said. “There are certainly people that are standing up and fighting for what we consider the good side, the rights of developers and publishers to make money on their IP.”

To verify this assesment, we decided to take a look at the piracy rate of PSP games. This data, based on direct monitoring of BitTorrent trackers seems to contradict Sony’s statements. From our statistics, there seems to be an increase instead of a decrease in the past months, which is true for all content. There is a steady increase in downloads for PSP games throughout 2008, and an even steeper one over the last three months.

To give an example of the piracy rate of PSP games, Dissidia: Final Fantasy was downloaded 200,000 times via BitTorrent over the past 5 days, which is pretty significant for a PSP game. The two most pirated games for the PSP in 2008 were Final Fantasy VII and GTA Vice City Stories, with an estimated 650,000 and 550,000 downloads. As a comparison, the average PSP game sells 133,000 copies. We’re curious where Sony got their statistics, perhaps it was just a PR stunt, to give pirates a guilty conscience.

Despite the increase in pirated downloads, for other types of games, more units were sold November this year compared to the same month in 2007, adding up to an impressive $4 billion in sales.


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