Sims 3 downloaded 180,000 times in 4 days

Illegal Sims 3 downloads top 180,000

Piracy is theft

Piracy is theft

EA's The Sims 3 doesn't ship until early next week, but it's already outpaced Spore in illegal downloads, reports Bloomberg. According to file-share monitor BigChampagne LLC, The Sims 3 was downloaded at least 180,000 times in just four days, between May 18 and May 21. By contrast, Spore -- the most pirated game of 2008 -- was downloaded some 400,000 times over three weeks. It's entirely conceivable that The Sims 3's piracy numbers could eventually climb into the millions.

Say what you will about digital rights management, leaked games can seriously clobber publisher sales. It's one thing for a game to show up on a pirate site post-release (even then, still a serious problem) but entirely another when it's available weeks in advance. In the current climate -- the slightly childish "I want it now!" one -- players who might otherwise buy or even prefer to pay for the retail version are often tempted to grab the illegal digital one, if only because it's there to grab at all, and there's still a sense, however shady, that there's strength in numbers. I've often (informally) heard publishers and developers state that their biggest concern isn't whether their game's pirated, but how to keep it from being pirated early.

So put in place a system that allows you to launch the game early, right? Easier said than done. Publishers are beholden to shareholders, and ultimately, therefore, share prices. Those share prices fluctuate in relation to largely psychological factors, in turn derivative of revenue realities, but also reality "perceptions." To make investors happy, you want to be able to trumpet things like day or week one sales, which -- if you're going for records, and you better believe EA is with its third installment in the bestselling PC game series ever -- require carefully timed and orchestrated launches. Those launches require sophisticated coordination, whether that's with retailers and physical shipping services or digital download providers. Dynamic product release systems somehow capable of reacting sufficiently to the whims of unscrupulous pirates are at best implausible, and at worst, impossible.

But there's no such thing as bad publicity, is there? Okay, that's not entirely untrue. Say lots of people download a game early. Guys like me echo the point that the game's being pirated in record numbers, and everyone pays even closer attention, leading to broader brand awareness and hypothetically stronger legit sales. It's still a shady, backhanded way to promote a product, and a sophomoric way to argue your point. Excusable illegality by way of dubiously quantifiable "positive" ramifications? I suppose there's an upside to just about anything, so long as you're willing to torture the self-serving logic with hot brands, pliers, and truncheons.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matt Peckham

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?