EA’s Spore has apparently become the most pirated PC title of 2008. TorrentFreak, a weblog dedicated to aggregating news for the BitTorrent P2P protocol, reports the number of estimated downloads have broken all previous records for an individual game.
The report suggests that more than half a million illegal copies of Spore were downloaded within 10 days of the game’s official release. According to the site’s latest estimates, a record 1.7 million file-sharing downloads have now taken place since early September.
Although largely a critical and commercial success, Spore has courted controversy over its DRM policy and limited number of allowable installs.
Some observers, including TorrentFreak, claim that rather than limiting piracy, the DRM features have actually driven more potential users to pirating the game, in order to avoid the limitations imposed by EA.
According to TorrentFreak, the second most pirated game of the year is The Sims 2, from the same EA studio. Although first released in September 2004, the game reportedly saw 1,150,000 illegal downloads during the year.
The third most pirated title was Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed at 1,070,000. The PC version was reportedly available six weeks before the game’s official launch, and Ubisoft subsequently filed a $10 million lawsuit with disc manufacturer Optical Experts Manufacturing (OEM).
Number four in TorrentFreak’s list is Crysis, with 940,000 illegal downloads. Earlier in the year Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli, put the ratio of legal to illegal copies of key PC titles as high as 1 to 20.