The Most Pirated Games Of 2011

Torrentfreak has listed the top ten pirated games of the year, with figures based off bittorrent downloads rather than that dodgy bloke down the market.

Top of the dubious chart, pop pickers, is Crytek’s Crysis 2 on PC, with nearly four million downloads.  It’s closely followed by Modern Warfare 3 with 3.65 million and then Battlefield at three and a half.


FIFA 12 is next, and then Portal 2 teleports into fifth place with 3.24 million.  These are all PC downloads, by the way.

The Wii has its own top five: Super Mario Galaxy 2 is at the top with 1.28 million, Mario Sports Mix with 1.1 million and Xenoblade, LEGO Pirates and FIFA 12 finishing up the Nintendo top five.

Gears of War 3 heads up the Xbox 360 ‘chart’ with 900,000 copies downloaded.

We’ll be looking into SOPA (which I personally think could end up being a real mess) very soon, and in particular videogame publisher support for the new act.  Stay tuned, as they say.



  1. Wow…This is terrible. Pirates complain about high prices when it’s probably their fault.

    • more interestingly, ” The platforms that are not mentioned, such as the PS3, get considerably less downloads and are excluded for that reason.”

      seems the temporary jailbreak is now well and truly closed down by Sony.

      • Far from it, but the barrier to entry is considerably higher than it was & anyone importing or selling the devices is breaking the law so 99.9% of people wouldn’t be able to get hold of the thingy

  2. Ah, SOPA. It’s a mess as i think it would basically give companies the power to shut down any site that they please irregardless of whether it has copyright content or not. :( It would basically destroy the net. I think it actually overrides the reviewing purposes and parody purposes of copyrighted content.:S

    I’m surprised that Crysis 2 was the most pirated game of 2011. :O I was expecting more major games but am glad that they didn’t make the list. :-)

    I know it’s off topic, but i’m watching Pirates 3 atm and this is a coindence. :p

    • Yeah, maybe SOPA is one of the 2012 disasters! It would be the end of my world… Ha…

      • if done well it could be great although i fear what Steven says is likely to be the outcome.

      • Yup, Totalbiscuit’s proven to me how dangerous it actually is

  3. Sony Nintendo & EA have taken there names of the SOPA list.

    • Seriously? Wow that’s a pleasant surprise. To think EA would remove themselves from an act that obviously is of benefit to themselves is really surprising.

      • It’s not of a benefit to them to piss off their entire target demographic with draconian laws

      • i presume microsofts still on it?

      • Microsoft is the very definition of corporate evil.

      • ms actually hold the patent on corporate evil don’t they? ^_^

      • I believe you owe them 20p just for using the phrase.

    • I actually can’t believe they even did support it.

    • Don’t think they wanted to suffer the same bad publicity as GoDaddy – an Internet hosting company very firmly behind SOPA, until masses suddenly upped and changed their hosting companies. GoDaddy suffered so badly that they have now deliberately made it harder for people to cancel their hosting accounts. They have had to publicly *claim to* change their viewpoint, to declare that they no longer support SOPA to try to protect their business.

    • I can’t believe us peasants still fund these ****’s!

  4. Oh wow. Poor Crytek.

    • Crysis suffered from piracy a lot too.seems it’s no different for the sequel.

  5. ughhh, what happen TSA? it looks a mess.

    • Thought it was my eyes not working properly at first!

  6. Yeah i think SOPA will be a huge mess like in my language soppa meaning soup

  7. It’s all a crock anyway, people will find a way round it.

    People who pirate games are unlikely to ever buy them so regardless of them stopping the sites, their sales won’t improve.

    Best example I can give would be movies. There are ones I will make an effort to see in a cinema, those I will buy on Blu Ray, and those I wait to hit tv. If Sky Movies shut down, I wouldn’t go out and buy them, I’d just not bother as they weren’t worth me buying them in the first place.

    I state for the record, I do not pirate video games.

    • And jewellery thieves weren’t likely to buy a €10,000 ring either.
      Your point?
      Theft is theft.

      However, theft of rights is also theft. SOPA goes too far, but SOMETHING has to be done before piracy cripples creativity forever.

      • what about the crime committed by universal when they ordered the takedown of material they had no legal right to?
        that was illegal.

        but that’s ok though isn’t it, they’re big publishers so everything they do is right, right?

      • Piracy does not cripple creativity; please show me any example of a situation where you believe it has.

      • Piracy erodes profit, which is not spent on research and development, which can result in an inferior product.
        It’s hard to name an example, as the games that would exist, never did, as they weren’t developed.

      • Oh, and if it was a crime, it’s not ok.
        But was it? Do you have access to their contracts, which are presumably long and convoluted and know for sure? I haven’t supported either Universal or MegaUpload, only gave you reasons to consider why MegaUpload might be in the wrong.
        I’m curious, is there a reason why you’re taking one company at their word and not the other? It’s not like we have any access to evidence here.

      • I’ll agree that its near impossible to present an example of where piracy hurt development. But its also near impossible to assume that those extra profits would have been used to make more games. It’s like saying if MW3 wasn’t pirated 4 million times activision would have rebooted the guitar hero franchise. activision killed GH because of poor sales, not because of lost profits from CoD, as long as individual franchises make a profit they’ll keep getting made. Because of how many games fail before launch already in this business it’s inaccurate to assume that companies would take more chances at losing money on unsuccessful new IPs. Problem is that publishers don’t talk about the reasons they cancel games. I also find it strange that if they were actually canceling games because of piracy they’re not talking about it, as if they were I’m sure they would mention it as it would be more ammunition for their piracy war.

      • Sorry, but ‘theft is theft’ is a misleading generalisation.

        You can’t compare theft of a ring to piracy of a game. Regardless of the legal/moral aspect, stealing a ring means it is gone, the retailer cannot sell it, the sale is lost. A pirated game doesn’t reduce the number of copies of that game available to sell. If someone pirates a game and they absolutely, 100% would never have bought it then there is no lost revenue.

      • You can’t compare the two. If you steal jewellery, you’ve stolen something but piracy is different and you can have unlimited quantities at virtually no cost.

        People who download or pirate stuff had no intention to buy it in the first place so no sale would be lost. The original owner of the copy wouldn’t gain anything if piracy was banned. They’d still earn the same amount of money with or without piracy.

        If a thief steals the jewellery, then the only piece of jewellery has gone but with download stuff, there’s always the original copy so nothing’s has technically been stolen therefore making your point invalid.

        I pirate an iOS app, I download and use it but I never ever had the intention of buying it in the first place ever even if I had the money so how does the developer lose a sale?!?!? Sure it’s theft but it’s not harming anyone as like I say if there was no piracy, I wouldn’t have bought it then either.

      • i’m taking one company at their word because because there is precedent for the other company doing what they say they did.
        just look at the last of us trailer a few weeks back, viacom had it removed from naughty dog’s account.
        and that’s hardly the first time that’s happened.

        and besides, it’s not just one side’s word that i took into account, did you visit the second link i posted?
        that has universal’s response, and they seem to think they can take down any youtube video on a whim, with no legal recourse when they’re wrong or when they’re just being malicious.

        you invented a reason why universal might be in the right, a reason that there was no evidence for, or even any hint at.

        have you heard of occam’s razor?

        a principle that generally recommends that, from among competing hypotheses, selecting the one that makes the fewest new assumptions usually provides the correct one, and that the simplest explanation will be the most plausible until evidence is presented to prove it false.

        by fewest new assumptions i would assume that means not inventing reason that there is no evidence for.

        now i’m not saying i’m totally objective on this issue, but i can at least say i haven’t been inventing excuses to prove my point.

      • i forgot, i do agree with you on one point, piracy IS theft.

        but then both sides of that argument are twisting things a bit.
        whether you were going to buy the product or not, piracy is still theft, but, not every pirate copy is a lost sale like the industry claims.

        as for the industry claims that piracy fund terrorism, how does a free torrent download fund terrorism anyway?

      • Getting into some dodgy ground here talking about piracy and links to terrorism, taking us straight back to the broader SOPA issue again! :)

        I do not share the view that piracy is theft; when there’s no physical object involved (as in downloading, when you’re just making a copy and not taking from anyone or restricting / removing others ability to access something) then the term theft doesn’t really apply. The only time I think it could possibly be applied is when the person downloads with the intent of selling it on to make money themselves, which would then be bootlegging, not theft.

        I’ve been saying for ages that creators / rights holders should set up some kind of honour payment system; let those that have downloaded from unofficial sources have the ability to pay them directly. Furthermore, courts across the world are ruling in favour of the people and not the companies in cases where data is downloaded for personal use – they also believe that a crime is only committed when money is made from it that does not go to the original creators or rights holders. See:

      • Semantics semantics blah blah

        It’s still obtaining goods or services without paying for them when a payment is owed.

        It’s a disgusting way of justifying it by arguing dictionary definition of something.

        If a payment is due, pay for it otherwise you’ve effectively stolen it.

      • You’re taking away the right of a person or persons to be paid for work done and service provided.
        It sounds like stealing to me.

      • You’re not taking away any right to payment, you’re simply obtaining without paying. cc_star makes a valid point, though I’d counter with the notion that it’s a very short-term view though and doesn’t take into account all of the factors involved, such as downloads not equating to sales or future buy-in due to enjoyment of a downloaded title. I’d go so far as to say downloading without paying gives you a better appreciation of the true value of something, and whether you’d be willing to pay for it in the future. If I buy a game that turns out to be terrible, not only will I not buy that game or any sequels (or anything else in the same genre from the same developer), but my negative experience with it (coupled with the lighter wallet, that feeling of money wasted) can taint my appreciation of the genre on the whole making me less likely to buy into games from other developers in that genre in future. Rage, for instance, has killed any chance iD has of me buying any of their games again as I found it to be terrible. For the record, Quake II was my first FPS / online game back around 15 years ago, and I loved it to death; I’ve bought most of the games they’ve released since then, but have no intention of doing so anymore. If I’d downloaded Rage instead, this would not be the case – I can only speak personally on this, but can’t see how this wouldn’t be a common notion.

        Coming back for a second swing at the creativity argument; the gaming industry itself is killing creativity more than Piracy ever could, due to crazy development costs and all the issues tied to them.

      • Downloading without paying gives a better appreciation of value than paying?!!

        My ass it does, that actually makes no sense at all.

    • I think that in the same way you sometimes wait for films to hit TV, people can wait for a game to drop in price. If they’re not interested enough to buy it new then they shouldn’t have a problem waiting. There really is no excuse good enough IMO.

  8. i dont pirate games, but i know people who do pirate games, PC games in particuler, one guy in particuler bought an Alien ware out of his student loan (Yeah I Know) just so he could pirate PC games and play in his own words games for free and they look better than on console. we sing the knock off nigel song to him all the time now, and he is happy to say he dosnt give a stuff. he also pirates wii games running on the dolphin emulator. apparently the emulator makes wii games look better because it can render in a high resolution. dunno if its true.
    either way people compalin about all the DRM, so crytek made a decision for no online pass and look what happens. 4 million pirated copies. damm shame

    • I know people like that too. But interestingly enough, there are some people who actually buy Wii games to play them on Dolphin. The emulator can render Wii and Gamecube games at up too full HD. It can even run them in 3D (though I’m not sure what type of 3D, I think its the old red/blue-type) and with added AA and texture filtering. It makes them look like remasterings. And it supports Wii controllers. Not all games are emulated perfectly though. But the emulator itself is legal, so as long as you buy the games instead of downloading them… But you do need a powerful PC, so you’d probably be better off just buying a Wii.

    • Same, I know many people at University who have high end gaming PC’s but download their games from torrent sites and using a Uni Internet service, we all now how quick stuff can be downloaded. They also rarely buy games anyway so them pirating doesn’t harm anyone.

  9. Most popular games are most pirated – shocker! Though I’d imagine most people pirated Crysis 2 just to see if their rigs could run it – The series has become a replacement for 3DMark. The rest of the figures are moot, and not really an issue for the bottom line of the publishing companies; certainly for Fifa / MW3 / BF3 these figures are to be expected given the steady milking of the franchises. It’ll be interesting to see what Gabe has to say about Portal 2 being up there.

  10. sopa is just a bad idea born from fear and greed, its poorly writen and wouldn’t effect the regions that contribute to piracy the most, like the R5 region. Turning someone into a felon because they streamed 10 tv shows that air for free while being broadcasted on public airways is a horrible idea. The most disgusting part is how the supporters are using the stale economy to justify the bill by stating it’s going to create jobs. sopa is what you get when you blindly follow a cause, especially a cause created by corporations. As far for the pirated games list, I’m really surprised that crysis 2 beat out MW3, at least EA can brag about that. And while people might not like to hear it, considering that the people who pirated crysis 2 also pirated MW3 and BF and so on, 4 million is a small percent compared to the amount of PCs in the world. Just goes to show not everybody pirates games and the whole piracy issue is over inflated by the game industry.

    • 4m may be a small percentage of the PCs in the word, but that is still the best part of $100m owed to the creators of each of those games. I honestly don’t know what can be done when there is a generation of people who think movies, music, books and games can be taken for free. In the words of Ian Holloway, it’s wrong, just wrong. Thieving gits.

    • It’s a small percent of the number of PCs in the world?
      How many of them can play Crysis 2?

      And yes, it’s about 4,000,000 x €30 (The cheapest I’ve seen it in a shop, it would be a lot higher in some places, but might be lower in others) lost from sales of the game, adding up to €120,000,000 STOLEN goods. Most likely even more.

      And you don’t have a problem with that?

      • The main arguments against your points are:

        1) Downloads will never equate 1:1 to sales, and this has been proven – most download because they’re not sure they want the product in the first place and are not willing to part with their money without being certain, which is understandable given the questionable quality of these releases (Portal 2 aside). Those who enjoy the game will likely buy it and / or its sequels; most will probably play for a few hours and never go back. In the case of Portal 2, most of those likely now have legitimate Steam accounts.

        2) You cannot ‘steal’ a product by downloading it, as you are actually making a copy of it – if something is ‘stolen’ then it implies that it’s not available for someone else to purchase or obtain.

        I personally have bought games and sequels for games that I have downloaded from the internet and enjoyed or played to completion; the problem is with those that make money from pirate games, and it is they that owe money to the developers.

      • Did you ever hear of receiving stolen goods?
        It’s also illegal. The thief and the person (knowingly) taking the ill-gotten product are guilty. Plagiarism is also illegal, and it technically doesnt remove anything from the original creator.
        Downloads don’t have to equal sales for my argument to be right. In the end, theft is theft, whether for 50c or €1,000,000,000. It’s only the punishment that will change.

        And yes, some use torrents as a ‘try before you buy’ kind of thing. If everyone used them this way, they’d be legal. But not everyone does. Some people will pirate Crysis, and like it. Like it do much they’ll do the same for Crysis 2. And so on.

        I think an effective compromise would be for companies to run a service similar to the full game trails PS+ users get from the PSN, for every game and gamer. But it’d need some serious DRM, or people would keep opening different accouts to play it for free over and over.

      • You’re completely missing the point, The percentage of people who actually pirate a game is very low compared to the percentage that could. Take Gears 3, theres what 50 million 360’s in the world? 900K piated Gears copies, that equals a 1.8% piracy rate, pretty small if you ask me. You can’t compare piracy to sales, you need to compare it to how many people could pirate a game. When you look at the bigger picture you’ll see fewer people then you think pirate games. plus there’s no way you can actually say that all those pirated copies would transfer over to a sale. There’s just no way in this world 4M pirated copies = 4M lost sales. They’re pirates… they don’t buy things new, best chance is it effects used sales more than new sales as the people would try to buy the game as cheap as possible, so the industry would lose out on 4M used sales… a case in where they’d receive the same amount of extra profits- zero.

      • And to answer your question if I have a problem with that, honestly no. Piracy has existed since day 2 of the tech boom. We’ve had piracy for a long time, personally I consider a small amout of piracy healthy. we all break some terms of service, user agreement or licensing agreement sometimes. I believe any piracy under 3% should be considered advertising. I’ll say that companies have the right to limit piracy but realistically they’re NEVER going to eliminate it. It’s better to monitor and limit it then to fight an impossible war against it. Piracy is pretty easy, almost everybody can do it, yet even as easy as it is most people chose not to. If companies didn’t spend billions of dollars/punds fighting a impossible war they’d also have more profits.

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