10 December 2008

Guess which games made it to the Top 10 piracy charts.

TorrentFreak has released the much awaited piracy chart which list the ten most pirated video games in 2008. CyberPanda is not very surprised that Spore tops the piracy charts. The number of illegal dowloads of game is reported to be in the region of 1.7 million. The high level of piracy has been linked by many commentators to the DRM associated with Spore: initially users of Spore could only activate the game three times after its installation. Although the DRM associated with Spore has now been amended to allow users to install the game as much as they like, this has not reduced the level of piracy.

This is a very interesting point and one wonders whether the lack of correlation between the new DRM and the level of piracy is due to customer alienation (due to original DRM) or whether it is symptomatic of a bigger phenomenon, namely that the technology on its own is not enough to combat piracy. CyberPanda leans more towards the latter. Many cyber-regulatory scholars have also toll the bells of the demise of law as a tool of control online and have argued that the 'code' or technology is the key to controlling values traditionally protected by law (e.g. intellectual property right). As this case shows, the situation is hardly as simple as that and one is very far from a cyber-landscape where code is key to control.
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