You can file this story under “E” for Equal Parts Interesting and Depressing. During yesterday’s London Games Conference, developer Sports Interactive’s Miles Jacobson gave a presentation in which he discussed the issue of piracy and Football Manager 2013. According to Jacobson, the game was illegally downloaded 10.1 million times. China was the biggest culprit accounting for 3.2 million of the downloads; Turkey came in next with just over 1 million downloads; Portugal was responsible for 781, 785 illegal downloads; and Italy accounted for 547,000 downloads. Oh, and one person pirated the game in the Vatican – so much for “thou shalt not steal”.
The game was released on 02 November 2012. By 12 May 2013, the game had been cracked. Once cracked, sales of the game plummeted. Jacobson and his team, however, had embedded code in the game that sent user IPs and information back to them in the event of a cracked executable being launched.
This embedded code, which he referred to as “Home”, allowed Sports Interactive to harvest this piracy data. Jacobson readily admitted that not all of the 10.1 million pirated copies would have been purchases; he attributed around 1.7% of that figure to lost sales. Still, that accounts for 176,000 lost sales, which equates to $3.7 million in lost revenue. That revenue, Jacobson says, would have been put towards expanding the Football Manager team and creating new jobs. Way to go, you filthy pirates.