BitTorrent weblog TorrentFreak have published their annual list of the most pirated games of 2011 across the PC, Wii, and Xbox 360 platforms. The PlayStation 3’s piracy rates are too low to be tracked reliably and therefore omitted.
The PC was by far the most pirated platform. The Number One spot was claimed by Crytek’s Crysis 2 with nearly 4 million “copies” pirated. It was followed by Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Battlefield 3, FIFA Soccer 2012, and Portal 2, rounding the list with over 3 million downloads per title.
For the Wii, the top spot went to a game that wasn’t even released in 2011: 2010’s Super Mario Galaxy 2, with 1.28 million downloads, claims the top spot for the second year in a row. Following it are Mario Sports Mix, Xenoblade Chronicles, Lego Pirates of the Caribbean, and FIFA Soccer 2012.
The Xbox 360’s most pirated game was the system-exclusive Gears of War III with 890 thousand copies of it downloaded. Next in line were some familiar PC names, such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3, before reverting to system exclusive Forza Motorsport 3 and Kinect Sports: Season 2.
Analysis: I’m actually rather surprised Crysis 2 got the top spot as I expected it to be Call of Duty, but in the end, it makes sense: CoD is primarily a multiplayer game, and multiplayer games are difficult to play online when pirated. In contrast, Crysis 2 not only had a several-months headstart over CoD and fellow shooter Battlefield 3, but it also is focused on single-player which isn’t affected by the absence of online services. In addition, Crysis 2 is a title that has excellent graphics and is used as a benchmark for the strength of your system, so it’s possible that many who pirated the game have no intention of actually playing it.
For the Wii charts, I’m surprised people still haven’t gotten tired of Super Mario Galaxy 2 considering it’s been out for over a year and a half now. This could be due to the lack of real blockbuster titles on the Wii since then other than The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, which seems to have come out too late in the year to be pirated extensively and has thus not made the list. An interesting entry is Xenoblade Chronicles with nearly a million copies pirated. That’s almost three times the current lifetime sales of the game. If it doesn’t sell well in the United States, will Nintendo be justified in holding out so long on bringing the title over to English-speaking audiences?
On the Xbox front, we have three exclusives in the top five with Gears of War 3, Forza Motorsport 4, and Kinect Sports: Season 2 claiming first, fourth and fifth places respectively. The last one is also a bit of a surprise: Normally, casual games aren’t pirated as the usual users aren’t tech savvy enough to do it. However, with the limited number of titles on Kinect, it seems a lot of people pirated Kinect Sports: Season 2 to have something to play with the expensive peripheral.