The director of Sports Interactive, the creators of Football Manager, has revealed the extent of piracy facing PC video game publishers.
Miles Jacobson claims that 10.1 million people have illegally downloaded Football Manager 2013 after its copy protection was cracked on 12th May. Whilst the copy protection was circumvented by Italian warez release group CPY, they did not disable the phone home feature of the programme, meaning that Sports Interactive could track the IP addresses of those using Football Manager illegally.
The majority of those that illegally downloaded the software were from China with 3.2 million people, with Turkey racking up 1.05 million, and Portugal 781,785. Italy, the home country of the CPY release group had 547,000 illegal downloaders, and there was even one from the Vatican!
Whilst Jacobson admits that each illegal download does not equal a lost sale, the drop in activations directly after the release of the crack means that he estimates the company lost 176,000 sales, 1.74% of illegal downloads, representing lost revenues of $3.7 million (£2.3 million).
Acknowledging that “crackers are going to crack and people will download”, Jacobson told the audience at the London Games Conference 2013 that he hoped the figures would give the video games industry some more accurate numbers help understand the real state of illegal downloading.