Study – 57% of PC users have pirated software

Thursday, 17th May 2012 03:02 GMT By Brenna Hillier

A new report from the Business Software Alliance says 57% of all PC owners admit to pirating software. The statistic is based on survey responses, and is being touted as a reason to crack down further on piracy. The report claims the $63.4 billion worth of software was pirated in 2011, a significant jump on 2010′s $58.8 billion, and that developing countries – notably China – are particularly keen on it. Young males are highlighted as the primary offenders. On the potentially bright side, those who pirate seem to own more software in general.

Thanks, Neowin. [image]



  1. Christopher Jack

    I don’t think I have, not unless you include roms for emulators. But I’ve owned every game that.I’ve played on emulators, I just prefer playing on the emulator to the console. I’ve also had to use false keys to play a game that I legitimately bought (Dawn of War Soul storm). It kept thinking they weren’t real. I admit that I have accepted pirated games though.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. JB

    In case anyone is wondering where they get $63.4 billion from – they use this string:

    # unlicensed units installed X Average Software Unit Price = commercial value.

    Besides kids, piracy is the same as “software Theft” and is comparable to shoplifting. The good news is that there apparently isnt any links between terrorism and piracy anymore, or maybe they just forgot to include it.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Llewelyn_MT

    Even though piracy per se is wrong it’s not worth having institutions like BSA on the face of Earth. While technically right, comparing piracy to shoplifting is just plain stupid. When you’re shoplifting the goods are gone and can’t be sold to recover production costs.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. silkvg247

    The only PC software I have pirated is the adobe suite. Surprisingly enough I can’t afford the 5k+ asking price, nor can I afford the monthly sub for the full suite (50 quid or so).

    Even for illustrator alone it’s a steep fee.

    If/when my game(s) start to sell, I’ll buy a licence.

    Oh and if they mean PC games, I don’t pirate them at all. I don’t see the point, PC games are cheap if you know where to look and in some cases don’t mind a little wait after launch.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. drewbles82

    Games are always cheap on PC so no point esp with risking getting a virus hidden in a file you download.
    As for software, I just started a business, i’ve been out of work for 4yrs now, only temp work around here which last days/weeks, then back to signing on again.
    So I started my own business but this would be impossible to even think about if I had to pay. How on earth a student can even afford the student packaged software i dont know.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. TheBlackHole

    Stats like this make me question why PC gamers like to moan so much about a lack of support for their platform.

    Thieving bastards.


    #6 2 years ago
  7. pukem0n


    if you listen to developers it should be more like 99% :S

    #7 2 years ago
  8. freedoms_stain

    I love the insinuation that $63.4 billion has been lost to piracy. Because there’s $63.4 billion in disposable income just floating around, ya know?

    I’d actually like to see piracy eliminated for like a year just to see all these holy anti-piracy crusaders jaws drop when their bank balances don’t go up a cool billion or 2 by the end of it.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. TheBlackHole


    Are you trying to justify piracy by saying it boosts profits?

    Interesting perspective.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. freedoms_stain

    @9, where was the justification for anything? I merely pointed out that the numbers bandied about are sheer fantasy.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. TheBlackHole

    “’d actually like to see piracy eliminated for like a year just to see all these holy anti-piracy crusaders jaws drop when their bank balances don’t go up a cool billion or 2 by the end of it.”

    translation – remove piracy, bank balances are 2bil shy…?

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Llewelyn_MT

    @6: How many console gamers don’t own a computer? ;)

    #12 2 years ago
  13. freedoms_stain

    @11, “translation – remove piracy, bank balances are 2bil shy…?” er, no.

    ok, long version.

    What these guys expect is that the elimination of piracy will cause money to start rolling in as people buy products rather than pirate. However I expect they would see a much more modest increase in profits than they believe they will because the extra money to pay for things does not exist.

    Therefore they are going to be surprised (jaws drop) when their earning go up in a figure measured in tens or hundreds of thousands rather than billions.

    I still fail to see how anything I’ve said advocates piracy.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. absolutezero

    If you add up everything that piracy is classed as im pretty sure 99.9% of everyone ever is a pirate of some kind or another.

    You dirty thieving bastards.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. TheWulf

    What absolutezero said.

    Statistics are nonsense, really, because I could pretty much say that 100% of people have downloaded music and video, and you’d have people jumping up to defend themselves.

    Even I pirate, but I pirate as a service. What do I mean by that? If licensing and shit is keeping something out of my hands, then I have no choice other than to pirate it because there’s no other way for me to be a consumer. An example I can give you is that I’m an avid follower of certain TV series, and those series haven’t shown up on UK iTunes yet because of licensing issues.

    When they do, I buy them, but until they do I have the choice of pirating or just being left behind the curve. And being left behind the curve sucks. I buy my music (from bandcamp when I can, so it goes direct to the artists), and I buy my games (again, from the developers when I can), but sometimes there are things that the industry doesn’t let you buy.

    Because the industry is staffed by complete imbeciles that don’t have the first clue of what a good service is. Valve understands this. Because pirates invariably fall into three groups (and TotalBiscuit has said this too, and I’m liking him more and more all the time because he’s a gamer with sense – a rare thing):

    Group #1: Those who can’t afford to buy things at retail in the first place. They were never going to be customers anyway, and they’re an absolute minority. You shouldn’t be punishing your customers to get at them.

    Group #2: Those who pirate games which have no demos to benchmark them on their computer. Your computer is getting a little old and you like the look of that $60 title but you don’t want to buy it if it’ll only run at 5 frames per second.

    Group #3: Those who can’t get at something because for whatever reason it hasn’t been released in the UK. There are console games that do this and it’s absolutely ridiculous. Hell, even the console digital stores do this, which is just folly.


    Group #1: For the most part, just don’t give a shit. The world will always have poor people, and attacking them is bad PR for you and a waste of time and money. Furthermore, run sales on your distribution platform. If you hit a price point they can afford, they WILL buy from you.

    Group #2: Demos. One of the reasons that Bulletstorm failed was because there wasn’t a prerelease demo, and when people asked for one, CliffyB pretty much called PC owners a bunch of whiny bitches. If you want less pirates, provide a demo. This isn’t rocket science.

    Group #3: Work out your licensing shit and release things Internationally on services like iTunes and digital console stores at the same time and date. Steam understands the importance of this and only doesn’t do this when publishers demand otherwise. Look at Steam, seriously.

    Piracy isn’t a hard thing to cure.

    Like I said in opening this comment, the most infuriating thing ever is when I want to give my money to the producer of a TV series, but I literally can’t because licensing issues are keeping it off the UK version of iTunes. So here I am, with my money, and my open desire to give them my money, and I am unable to do so!

    This is the problem. Due to the way things work and the shitty, substandard services on offer, piracy is actively encouraged.

    1. If you overcharge, you encourage piracy.
    2. If you don’t provide demos of your games, you encourage piracy.
    3. If you keep products away from certain regions, you encourage piracy.

    Who’s to blame for piracy? The industry is! Again, this isn’t rocket science. They’re trying to control it, but the problem is is that the industry itself is actively, consistently encouraging people to pirate by not providing them with what they need.

    Let’s do this one more time to drill the point home.

    1. Poor people can’t afford sixty dollar products. If you don’t offer them for cheaper down the road, don’t expect them to buy. You won’t get a sale from people who cannot afford your product. Not everyone is a middle or upper class fatcat. Some of us might be, but not everyone is.

    2. If a person wants to test something on their PC and you haven’t provided a demo for them to do so, then the next easily available option is BitTorrent. Think about it. A lot of pirates just wish to benchmark. PC demos exist for benchmarking. It’s either demos that are used for it or pirated games – you make your choice. If you choose piracy by not providing a demo, that’s your fault.

    3. The Internet is international, as such, one has friends in other countries. They are watching things that you want to watch. If the industry wasn’t staffed by utter fucking idiots, you’d be able to head to iTunes and buy what they’re watching. But if you can’t do that, then the only option is to pirate. If you actively stop people from buying your product by keeping it out of their region, you actively create piracy.

    And you cannot blame consumers for any of these three points. The only people to blame is the industry. Piracy is a creation borne of the hubris of the entertainment industry. And unless they fix shit up, it’s going to stick around. Gabe Newell understands this. Now the rest of the world just needs to catch up.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. TheWulf

    I’m sorry I belaboured that so much, but it just amazes me how people don’t realise that it was the entertainment industry that birthed and sustains the piracy scene. They gave birth to it, they provide it with sustenance, and at the same time this industry is trying to shun it like the child it wants to pretend it doesn’t have.

    It’s just absolutely amazing to me sometimes that people don’t understand what’s really going on here.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. JB

    Anyone having any luck finding the average value of games, OS`s or any other category?

    I dont actually see the exact value anywhere, only a vague notion that the value is lower than the market price???

    I`d love to see them put pirated software on Ebay (assuming it was legal) and see the market put a price on it, and compare it to the estimates by their own lobby organisations.

    #17 2 years ago

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