Football Manager 2013, last year’s release of the management simulator was pirated over ten million times according to developer Sports interactive.
Released in late 2012, the game was cracked in May of this year, but had a flaw in it that allowed the developer to track the IP address of everyone who downloaded it. This has given the developers an interesting window on piracy worldwide.
Speaking at the London Games Conference 2013, Miles Jacobson explained how most of the piracy originated in China, with 3.2 million downloads, followed by Turkey and, perhaps surprisingly given its size, Portugal. Italy was also a big source of piracy, and Jacobson even discovered one copy of Football Manager 2013 was downloaded from The Vatican! The Vatican are no strangers to torrenting pirated material, as TorrentFreak reported earlier this year.
But as Jacobson explained, these huge figures are not quite as bad as they seem. He doesn’t consider every pirated copy a lost sale, as most pirates would not buy the game as an alternative to piracy. But his company estimated piracy cost them $3.7 million in revenue, which is still a lot of money. Once the crack was available on the internet, sales of the game did start to decline.