There is “no evidence that piracy affects video game sales”
The European Commission published a report yesterday stating that there is no statistical evidence that illegal downloads of video games affect legal sales.
The 307-page document outlines the research done by the firm Ecorys. It looked into the consumption of games, films, TV, books, and music across Germany, Sweden, Poland, Spain, France, and the UK.
According to the report, in 2014, 51% of all EU adults and 72% of all EU minors illegally downloaded or streamed on the aforementioned forms of content.
That number is far lower for games, though. Only 18% of participants admitted to illegally downloading games, and 16% to playing on a modified console.
Despite nearly one-fifth of the participants taking place in piracy, there is no evidence to suggest this impacts legal sales.
The report states, “In general, the results do not show robust statistical evidence of displacement of sales by online copyright infringements. That does not necessarily mean that piracy has no effect but only that the statistical analysis does not prove with sufficient reliability that there is an effect.”
Despite popular belief, the report also found that cutting down prices would not deter piracy. The report continued, “For books, music, and games, the price setting alone cannot explain piracy levels because most pirates of those content are willing to pay more than extremely low prices.”
To the contrary, illegal consumption actually boosts legit sales, according to the report. “This positive effect of illegal downloads and streams on the sales of games may be explained by the industry is successful in converting illegal users to paying users,” the report says. “Tactics used by the industry include, for example, offering gameplay with extra bonuses or extra levels if consumers pay.”