15 Stunning Video Game Piracy Statistics [2024]

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18 Interesting Video Game Piracy Statistics

Video games have been an indispensable part of our lives since their invention in the 1950s.

In the same manner that other industries have been plagued by piracy, the video game industry hasn’t been left out.

Video game piracy statistics have been a gentle hum for PlayStation and Xbox games but a deafening scream for PC and Mobile games.

Given that a significant portion of the gaming community is young, financial challenges are one of the main reasons for piracy in this industry.

That said, let’s take a look at the most recent video game industry piracy statistics.

Eye-opening video game piracy statistics

Most people think that video game piracy is a victimless crime and, therefore, ok to commit. However, that’s not what the statistics say:

  • There are 3.32 billion gamers in 2023.
  • 1 in 10 of them have illegally downloaded or played a pirated video game in the past three months.
  • The most pirated game in the world is Minecraft, which got 58,000 monthly searches on piracy websites in 2022.
  • Only 15% of pirates are between the ages of 51 and 60; 40% are teenagers.
  • 3.2 million Windows PCs were compromised by malware from unlicensed software and games in 2021.
  • The piracy rate for mobile games is about 95% for Android and 50%-60% for iOS.

General video game piracy statistics

The video game industry has suffered significant losses due to illegal game copies and manipulated gaming consoles.

Let’s see exactly how:

1. There are 3.22 billion gamers in 2023

(Source: Newzoo)

There are over 3 billion gamers in 2023 who are projected to generate $249.32 billion in revenue.

2. Around 1 in 10 gamers engage in video game piracy

(Source: LinkedIn)

A recent survey shows that around 10% of all gamers have illegally downloaded or played a pirated game in the past three months.

3. 25% of gamers have pirated more than 50 games

(Source: PCgamer)

According to a survey done by PCgamer across 50,000 participants, 25% of all gamers pirated more than 50 games through the years.

4. Most pirates are teenagers

(Source: PCgamer)

The same survey revealed that 40% of all pirates were teenagers, and only 15% of them were between 51-60 years old.

What’s more, most of the pirates claimed that they had an income of less than $10,000 a year.

5. 4% of UK gamers play only pirated games

(Source: Statista)

According to a 2022 survey, 4% of UK gamers play only pirated titles. 12% enjoy a mix of legal and illegal content, and the majority (83%) exclusively play games from official sources.

6. 30% of pirates get their games through link sites

(Source: Advanced Television)

According to a UK survey done in 2022, 30% of video game pirates got their games through link and P2P torenring websites.

19% obtained games via ROM sites, and 14% copied a friend’s game.

Gaming consoles piracy statistics

The three major gaming consoles, PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch, have only been marginally harmed by pirates.

However, manipulation of the consoles, jailbreaking, and the illegal download of games onto the devices have been a nuisance for these companies for the last few years.

7. Pokémon Diamond and Pearl have been illegally copied 5.4 million times

(Source: GameRant)

The two most popular games on Nintendo Switch, Pokémon Diamon and Pearl, have been pirated over 5.4 million times, which has cost Nintendo $1 billion in sales revenue in Japan only.

8. Xbox suspended 4.33 million accounts in 2022

(Source: Xbox.com)

According to a report that was published in June 2022, Xbox had to suspend 4.33 million accounts.

Most of these suspensions were due to reports of cheating or violating the community guidelines.

However, a small percentage was related to pirated games and manipulated accounts.

Piracy statistics about PC games

Unfortunately, PC games have taken the most brutal blow in the piracy business.

This is partly because personal computers are the most susceptible to manipulation, and there’s very little game developers can do to stop pirates from leaking game files.

This has gone on so far that many game design companies have stopped creating exclusive PC games due to their high costs and low revenues.

9. The most pirated PC game in 2022 was Minecraft

(Source: Uswitch)

Minecraft is the most pirated game, with 58,000 monthly searches on piracy websites.

The second place belongs to Roblox, which has over 21,000 searches per month, followed by GTA 5, with over 16,000.

10. In 2021, 3.2 million Windows devices were infected from pirated games and software

(Source: Advanced Television)

Pirating games and software not only harms the business and developers who create the games but also imposes a significant risk to PCs.

Most of the illegal copies of games on the Internet are infected by malware or a virus that can quickly spread through your computer and cause all sorts of trouble.

Mobile games piracy statistics

Since 2021, 90% of gamers use their mobile phones as their primary gaming device.

This is partly due to the sophisticated phone systems introduced in the last couple of years and partly because of the high-quality games available on mobile.

11. The mobile games market revenue was $248.40 billion in 2022

(Source: Statista)

The industry is projected to grow by 7.08% annually and reach $376.700 billion by 2027.

Currently, there are 1.93 billion mobile game players from all over the globe, and this number is also forecasted to grow significantly in the coming years.

12. 95% of Android games are pirated

(Source: Game Condor)

An astounding 95% of Android games are pirated. In fact, many experts believe that Android systems make it too easy for users to install illegal copies on their phones.

This percentage is 50-60% for iOS users due to its policies being stricter when it comes to copying files from unknown sources.

13. Dead Trigger had to change its status to freemium due to piracy

(Source: MakeUseOf)

Upon release, the mobile game Dead Trigger was priced at $0.99 on Google Play.

However, the piracy rate for this game was so high that the creators were forced to change its status to freemium and generate revenue through in-app advertising. 

Reasons behind video games piracy

The reasons people engage in pirating activities and the extent to which they are involved will be discussed in the following paragraphs.

14. 30% of gamers download video games illegally for financial reasons

(Source: Advanced Television)

In 2022, 30% of video game pirates said that they pirate games because the original versions are too expensive and they need to save their money for more important expenses.

15. 15% of gamers download games illegally for ideological reasons.

(Source: Business of Esports)

A recent survey showed that 15% of people who played pirated titles did it because they wanted to boycott a gaming brand. Another 13% thought that pirating games would impress their friends.

Wrap up

According to the latest video game piracy statistics, PC games are much more vulnerable to piracy than games designed for gaming consoles.

After PC, mobile games hold second place in the ranking.

This issue has caused so much loss for game developers that PC-exclusive titles are becoming a rarity.

Moreover, mobile games are primarily launched in a freemium version in order to use in-app advertising as a source of revenue.

Another interesting fact that video game industry piracy statistics tell us is that most video game pirates are teenagers and young people.

The main reason being they can’t afford to buy the video games in their original version and feel that it’s ok to use the pirated game for free.

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FAQ

Is pirating games serious?

Pirating is an extremely serious issue for PC and mobile games. However, the number of pirated PlayStation, Xbox, or Nintendo games is not high enough to pose a significant threat to console gaming.

How common is video game piracy?

Quite common. According to surveys, 10% of gamers have illegally downloaded a game in the past three months.

How much does the gaming industry lose to piracy?

Data from the Entertainment Software Association shows that the gaming industry loses an average of $29 billion each year.

Sources:

  1. Statista
  2. LinkedIn
  3. PC Gamer
  4. Statista
  5. Advanced Television
  6. GameRant
  7. Xbox.com
  8. USwitch
  9. Statista
  10. Game Condor
  11. MakeUseOf
  12. Business of Esports