However, just now I came across some rather shocking statistics, complements of the makers of World of Goo (a game that shipped without DRM). According to their data collection, 82% of copies of the game played were pirated. That's higher than I expected, but that wasn't the shocking part: that the ratio of pirated copies to lost sales is about 1000:1. Crunching the numbers and rounding up a bit to err on the side of caution, this means that the actual losses of piracy are less than 0.6% of the revenue they make from legitimate sales. This is between 8 and 25 times lower than I thought it would be.
These numbers absolutely demolish the claims that
- Internet piracy seriously hurts publishers (the actual damage is negligibly small)
- That DRM does more help than harm by reducing piracy (with levels of losses that low, there isn't any room for DRM to help, yet it's clear that it does a substantial amount of harm)