PC gamers admit to piracy

Recent Macrovision survey sees more than 50 percent of PC gamers admitting to software piracy.

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Copy protection experts Macrovision have recently conducted a software piracy survey across a number of popular gaming Web sites. Of the 2,219 PC gamers who responded, 52 percent admitted to having obtained cracked software, and 33 percent of those had acquired "ISO" files--essentially full CD images with the copy protection hacked out. A worrying 15 percent of the respondents owned up to having acquired 15 or more pirated games within the last two years.

The Electronic Software Association (ESA) currently estimates the impact of packaged software piracy on the games industry to be around $3 billion worldwide. Taking into account the rise in high-speed Internet file sharing, though, Macrovision believes that figure is actually much higher.

Based on its survey results, Macrovision estimates that for every four weeks a highly desired game's copy protection remains effective, significant revenue could be generated at retail as users get fed up of waiting for a "free" version of the game and buy a legitimate copy. Approximately two-thirds of the PC gamers who admitted to using pirated software conceded that they wouldn't have the patience to wait six weeks after a game's release before buying a legitimate version.

"The results of this survey highlight the economic impact of slowing hackers down by even a day," said Martin Brooker, director of sales at Macrovision Europe. "As the world's leading copy protection experts, we want to draw attention to the benefits of integrating security measures into game code--something which is both easy and efficient using our SafeDisc technology. And when you can generate significant additional revenues by investing a small amount of developer time to protect code properly, we think it's important that publishers choose the most robust and flexible security available."

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