ESA: 54% of illegal file swapping comes from Brazil, China, France, Italy and Spain

Tuesday, 15th February 2011 20:23 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

The ESA has named Brazil, China, France, Italy and Spain as the five countries with “extraordinarily high” levels of online game piracy.

The findings were revealed in a “Special 301″ report filed with the U.S. Trade Representative by the International Intellectual Property Alliance – a government body tasked with combating worldwide copyright infringement, reports Gamasutra.

The ESA, which is a member of this organization, issued a watch list consisting of 33 countries which it feels are not doing enough to quell issues of copyright infringement, with the aforementioned countries considered the worst offenders with 54 percent share of the peer-to-peer sector.

Those involved in the report, cited over 144 million connections in unauthorized game sharing, with the top five countries accounting for 78 million sources of P2P sharing – a number which is fives times that of the US.

“Our industry continues to grow in the U.S., but epidemic levels of online piracy stunt sales and growth in a number of countries, including Italy, China, Spain, Brazil and France, where we see crushing volumes of infringing peer-to-peer activity involving leading game titles,” says ESA president and CEO Michael Gallagher who said flashcarts are still readily available despite recent laws against them.

The IIPA and ESA recommends that the USTR impose trade sanctions on offending countries after a set investigation period and add Spain to the “Priority Watch List” due to its seemingly relaxed policies on the issue of piracy.

It was recommended that Brazil remain on the regular Watch List, along with Italy, while China and Canada will continue to remain on the Priority List.



  1. Roberto Guedes

    Hello, there.

    I’m brazilian and I founded with some friends last September an indie developer called “Give me Five”.

    As you may know be tired to know, all this thing about piracy here is true.

    But we think that it is about to change because of two things: “Jogo Justo” (Fair Game, in english) and ACI Games (Commercial and Industrial Association of Games), this last one founded by the creators of Jogo Justo. It does the same thing as ESA in the american games market.

    And Jogo Justo, which after turned out to be ACI Games, was created to formalize our games market (which simply didn’t exist before) and transfer the games taxes from “gamble games” (yeah, that’s why the prices are so high) to “software”, which was always supposed to be. With fair prices, we think that our market should finally rise.

    There are some evidences to that. There was days organized with the Jogo Justo’s team and the retailers to reduce the prices. I remember that slogan being “Take the game for free, pay just the taxes”. The titles were out of stock in less than one hour. And, of course, there is the success of StarCraft II (PC games already are on the “software” category).

    ESA and ACI Games are already communicating with each other, so I hope that some changes are coming soon. Those days of a game being banned with no good reason will be over, as well as the piracy subject, which I think that nobody here can take it anymore.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Hunam

    Proof that the only thing Italians pay for is their politicians?

    #2 4 years ago
  3. xino

    well obvious because those areas are poor and cannot afford to pay £40 full price for a game.
    I’m surprise the middle east was not mentioned as well.

    Publishers are just greedy man! 1million mark is enough for them but they still want more! Worst yet they’ve increased the prices of games and still expect people to pay their monthly gaming bill in order to reach 1 million mark. Atrocious they are introducing this online pass….are they out of their farking minds?

    It’s good that those countries above are pirating the sh* out of their games.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Roberto Guedes

    @3 No, not really, at least here. With fair taxes, a launch game should cost R$99,90, (US$60, £45). Right now, it goes from R$ 170 (Microsoft games) to R$ 250.

    And there aren’t many publishers here. Blizzard is here, as well as Sony, Microsoft and Warner (that also publishes EA games). But, besides those, NC Games and ZAP Games does the rest for the others.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. Superfrog

    I’m surprised that Germany isn’t on the list. Video game piracy is VERY common around here since the C64 and Amiga days. People usually shake their heads in disbelief when you tell them that you actually BUY games (this also applies to movies, music and any kind of PC software for private use, of course). *sigh*

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Callum

    Proof that most people in the UK are too retarded to work torrents.

    I of course have never illegally downloaded anything…. I would genuinely feel sick and not be able to sleep until I wrote a letter of apology. I once stole a sweet from Woolworths…I didn’t eat it, I felt so bad I gave it to my dog instead. I wrote them a letter saying sorry, and they sent me a box of Maltesers.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. Hunam

    The thing with the UK is that games are cheap here now. There isn’t much need to pirate games because they become affordable fast.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. Gurdil

    Well, you gotta note that, in France, a game costs 70 euros (£60), which is quite expensive IMO. That’s why I buy my games in the UK. But seeing how easy it is to get a game for free via megaupload, torrents or whatever, I’m not surprised so many people get them! And the question remains, as for movies, would people who use piracy have bought the game if they couldn’t download it? Not sure. I think most people get illegal stuff just to see what they wouldn’t have bought anyway. It doesn’t make it less illegal of course but I can understand curiosity.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. back_up

    piracy is in the blood of PC gamers
    but figures are fake
    100% of illegal file swapping comes from world is the fact

    #9 4 years ago
  10. aleph31

    Well, I’m from Spain, and even though I’ve never pirated any console game (I pirated some PC games long, long ago during the 90′s), I understand prices here are too expensive.

    In Spain an XBox game costs around 70€, and prices don’t go down after a minimum of 6 months or even 1 year since the game was released, i.e., a much lower pace than in other countries (for instance, Vanquish and Enslaved are both 70€ in this moment).

    Comparing the Spanish vs. UK GDP per capita, if UK followed the same rules than in Spain, an XBox game would cost there £70, and after 6 months, again £70… I presume that’s not the way to go if you want to erradicate piracy from lower-income countries.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. Robo_1

    @1 Thanks for a good summary of the situation in Brazil, I do hope it gets better for you and the other devs out there.

    I do think publishers need to price their products according to the market they’re selling in. There’s no excuse in countries like France, which has a relatively healthy economy (but seemingly a high proportion of leeches), but in poorer countries like Brazil and China, they need to meet the consumer half way, and charge a price for software appropriate to the average persons income.

    I suppose they’d also need to introduce region locking to the software then, but it just seems insane to try and sell a new game for €70 (or equivalent amount) in countries where that can be a big chunk of an average persons monthly wage. There are, better, easier and more effective ways of combating piracy than building another DRM system.

    #11 4 years ago
  12. Gurdil

    @11 Don’t mean to be rude but your argument about French people having a healthy economy is ridiculous. A good economy doesn’t mean all people are rich… For most people, 70 euros is very expensive. Even I find it expensive and have to turn to UK websites while I’m middle-class. I guess it’s ok for people who don’t play a lot to pay this amount once in a while but for “real” gamers it’s a pain in the ass.

    #12 4 years ago
  13. Robo_1

    No it doesn’t mean people are rich, but it does mean that luxury items like games are priced accordingly. I order all my stuff from the UK too, so I’m not saying people should just accept the 70 euro price tag blind.

    €70 is the high end though. Most games in Belgium sell new for €55 – €60 euros and I find that a fair price for the amount of entertainment I get from games.

    Whether it makes good business sense is another question entirely of course, but given how quickly games fall in price these days, and how extensive the second hand market is, there are cheaper options available for those who don’t wish to pay full price, so yes, in developed economies like France, I don’t think there’s any excuse for rampant piracy, certainly not when measured against places like Brazil.

    #13 4 years ago
  14. Gurdil

    @13 I’m with you on that, I didn’t try and stand up for piracy. Just saying new games are too expensive IMO and it could be a good idea for France to follow other countries’ lead (either cut new games prices and/or make those prices fall faster). I think we’re slowly getting to the same situation as music knows except it would REALLY be a problem for the game industry.

    #14 4 years ago
  15. Neolucifer

    Hell the continental parts of France got it “easy” , try living in their Carribean island and french guyana . Every consoles cost 100 more euros at least , and games are usually at 85-90 euros .

    When it comes to Online , if the game are region restricted , wich still happens every once in a while (and for every mmos) , we are screwed , being forced to play on euro server while being located near America .

    We dont have access to most PSN and XBL movies , music , and comics services , being flagged as not part of France , nor part of anywhere else , while still being fed PAL access and games .

    Yet most of those places dont have that many pirates , most “hapilly” buy their games , and the most disgrunted ones like myself , simply import the cheaper us games .

    So no bottom line , and finally to the point , i dont see 70 euros the game as a valid excuse .

    #15 4 years ago
  16. aleph31

    In any case, as far as for Spain goes, I see a clear picture:

    – Our population is whealthy enough to buy the hardware (you can easily spend 300€ per year on a console or new graphics card)

    – Our population is not whealthy enough to buy the software they are willing to buy (2 or even 3 games per month on average, which amouts to 140€ – 210€ per month)

    – We are sick of seeing other countries with prices that are half the price we have here, also we suffer from some kind of “normalization”, so every game costs the same no matter whether it’s an AAA title or not. And as a plus, prices drop here only after the game is not just old, but a reliq.

    I wonder what would happen in UK if every retail shop offered every game at £70.

    Of course I’m against piracy, but some type of equity policy must be implemented if you want everybody to be fair play; otherwise, the percentage of rogues will rise, as it is happening now.

    #16 4 years ago
  17. TheWulf

    Glad to see that there was only one openly racist comment here, though ideally that would’ve been none.

    That said, I can certainly understand that people might be struggling, financially, as I’ve been there. You spend your money as best you can, which is all that anyone could do, and when you find a game you like, you’ll likely shell out for it anyway out of the desire to support the developer.

    What gets to me is how much of the industry today encourages piracy.

    Example #1: Sony bans those who just want Other OS back on their system but are otherwise legitimate customers. As good as to say that they don’t want your money.

    Example #2: Nintendo has tried releasing firmware updates that block cards, otherwise you can’t access their store. Another way to say that they don’t want your money. (This one has bugged me, since I have a card and I use it for ScummVM. I like point & click adventure games, and they play well on the DS.)

    Example #3: Publishers aren’t putting out PC demos. At a time when console ports are so horribly optimised that even a quad core can’t pull more than 20FPS out of them, we need demos to ensure that things will work on our respective computers. Piracy is used in the place of demos.

    Example #4: Publishers price things way out of the league of someone’s ability to pay. This is helped with the likes of Steam sales (I’ll always respect you, Valve), but not everyone has a PC, so not everyone can take advantage of those.

    I could sit here and continue to do this.

    All of this acts contrary to making games saleable.

    They say with their lawyers that they don’t want people to pirate, and yet corporations say with their business ethics and choices that they do want people to pirate. To the point where they’re almost begging people to do so.

    I can understand GeoHot’s rap about not understanding corporations, because quite frankly, I certainly don’t either. Do you?

    #17 4 years ago
  18. TheWulf

    (And I will note that I own all the games I play with ScummVM. Hell, my CD for Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis recently gave up the ghost, so I picked it up on Steam to gain access to those files.)

    #18 4 years ago

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