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Report:  Modern Warfare 2  Most-Pirated Game Of 2009
Report: Modern Warfare 2 Most-Pirated Game Of 2009
December 30, 2009 | By Staff

December 30, 2009 | By Staff
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    20 comments
More: Console/PC



Infinity Ward's Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 ended up as the most pirated game via BitTorrent in 2009, according to media reports, with 4.1 million unauthorized downloads of the PC version alone.

A report from BitTorrent-related site TorrentFreak compiled its own estimates from several sources, including reports from all public BitTorrent trackers.

Due to its distributed nature, with peers seeding data to each other, BitTorrent sites have proved relatively difficult to stamp out as a source of game and other media piracy -- though authorities moved against major illegal BitTorrent centers such as The Pirate Bay in 2009.

According to TorrentFreak's data PC games are "by far the most downloaded titles, with on average more than three times the number of downloads compared to Xbox 360 and Wii releases."

The full top five most-downloaded per system across the tracked BitTorrent networks for 2009 -- with raw amounts and month of the game's release -- read as follows:

PC Unauthorized BitTorrent Downloads, 2009
1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (4,100,000, Nov. 2009)
2. The Sims 3 (3,200,000, June 2009)
3. Prototype (2,350,000, June 2009)
4. Need For Speed Shift (2,100,000, Sept. 2009)
5. Street Fighter IV (1,850,000, July 2009)

Xbox 360 Unauthorized BitTorrent Downloads, 2009
1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (970,000, Nov. 2009)
2. Street Fighter IV(840,000, July 2009)
3. Prototype (810,000, Feb. 2009)
4. Dirt 2 (790,000, Sept. 2009)
5. UFC 2009 Undisputed (720,000, Mar. 2009)

Wii Unauthorized BitTorrent Downloads, 2009
1. New Super Mario Bros (1,150,000, Nov. 2009)
2. Punch-Out!! (950,000, May. 2009)
3. Wii Sports Resort (920,000, July 2009)
4. The House of the Dead: Overkill (860,000, Feb. 2009)
5. Mario Power Tennis (830,000, Mar. 2009)

Other sometimes-pirated portable systems such as PSP and DS were not tracked by TorrentFreak in this set of charts. (PlayStation 3 piracy was also not tracked, due to the Blu-ray disc size and anti-piracy technology making PS3 piracy more difficult than other systems.)


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Comments


Eric Harty
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Yet my understanding is that a pirated version of MW2 would not be able to play multiplayer. I would have assumed that this would have lead to less pirated copies...

Rocket Man
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Anyone surprised?. Of course the biggest (and lamest) game of the year (and the decade) is the most pirated. Infinity Ward with all their kicks in the nuts of the community probably helped a lot to make that number bigger. Not that it's justified in any way, but that's what there is.



MW2 doesn't deserve to be neither bought nor pirated. Too late for millions of people.



PS.- Hey, 402, IWNet is not helping with the hacks nor with the piracy. Give yourselves a big pat in the back for making life miserable for the people that really bought your game only to play in those great lag-ridden campfests.

Joseph Cook
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The problems with this story are numerous:



1) It's being reported by TorrentFreak, notorious cheerleader for everything Torrent and piracy related. We have absolutely no idea how inflated that number might be, where their numbers might come from, and they certainly aren't an objective observer of the situation



2) Infinity Ward has already said that Modern Warfare 2 is by far their most successful PC game ever. In other words, just like Spore, Crysis, etc. - the most pirated games are the most popular, most hyped, and best-selling games. Not because of the controversy behind the game.



3) This gives completely undeserved credence to the extremely vocal minority of people who signed petitions due to the choices Infinity Ward made during MW2's development. They use this number as a "win", and use IW's decisions as justifications for pirating the game. On the contrary, the only thing this story does is self-promote that already vocal minority.

christophe briend
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Still no demo for MW2 ? Maybe people would have tried and buy it if there was one..

Ken Nakai
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This is also just a lot of hype. C'mon...one of the--if not THE--most popular game of the year is the most pirated? Wow...surprising. I would've thought some obscure shooter no one ever heard of would be the most pirated...that would make sense.



Sarcasm aside, what do you expect? I actually think more people might be pirating it just because of all the BS related to the PC version. The price went up for what is a nice single player game but is absolute shit as a multiplayer game. Rampant cheating, lagfests, lack of real community, etc. all contribute to make it a crappy experience. I shelled out my money and am playing the game but it gets so frustrating to see what could've been a really great game hampered by all this BS. I mean, jeez, for a game type that is constantly filled with cheaters...you make it peer-to-peer?!? Yeah, who's going to cheat then? Community? Steam doesn't count my friend. Sure, I've got my friends on there but not all of them have MW2 and have you actually tried to keep a party together in those stupid lobbies? I've got to leave before my "party" mates or else I have to reform the party? Fubar. And next time you want to use someone else's anti-cheat system, maybe you should try playing on it for a while. VAC has been letting in cheaters for ever. I even checked in recently to see how VAC was holding up in TF2...found an aimbotter after just two matches.



But, it's all good. The most important thing to IW is making their money and they're definitely making it off the XBox/PS3 communities. And, this sort of statistic about piracy just makes their argument for staying away from the PC platform due to piracy even stronger. I look forward to Bad Company 2's dedicated servers...where cheaters and assholes alike can be kicked by an active community.

robert will
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Pffft...PC gamers whining and crying because they don't have dedicated servers. It's really funny because the reason why IW did this is exactly because of this issue...cracked copies of the game being operable on dedicated servers. In order to keep people off the mp with cracked copies IW had to use IWNET for the PC...and I don't blame them. PC gamers are the worst community ever they bitch and gripe no matter what...and honestly it serves them right...petition what a joke. You guys got what was coming to you with all the bullshit hacks and cracks...and then you’re surprised that a company actually wants to try and protect their software...FUCKING WOW no brainer. Anyhow gaming on the PC is a past time...I gave that shit up...no point with all the hackers…none of the top ranked players are legit and hacked to level 70…they were selling the aimbot/wall hack 2 hrs after the game released. For me...Blizzard is the only reason I will be coming back to the PC for gaming...other then that...and as much as I hate to admit it...fuck the PC for FPS. AS much as I hate the jokesticks for FPS (I managed to rig my keyboard and mouse to PS3..rocks!!)...I'd rather get an even playing ground on the console then play with a bunch of hacked up cheating EPEEN fags...good riddance to the PC for gaming...the market is drying up...90% of developers have jumped ship and most block buster hits are designed for the console...it’s just a matter of time before its completely pointless to spend 4k++ on a gaming rig...hell in my opinion it already is. PS3 and x360 is where it’s at for gaming...PC players you got what you deserved...HA Oh by the way IWNET does keep pirated copies from playing the MP…my buddy has the cracked copy and he can only LAN for mp that’s it…his CD key is bunk…

Paul Le
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@ Robert will...there you go again. You the same guy who also bitch about xbox 360 then to PC. Typical trolling console playboy. No console fanboy (fucktard like Robert will) are the worst because you the reason you started the console wars and PC is not part of it. You immature freakhead. Hell You the reason that you are kid and you btich about this and that. You also the one that hate PC. Fuck console for FPS.

Paul Le
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and also console fanboys just whine and choose not to understand the complexity of the situation here. You trolled for about a week then you come into my xbox 360 section and say fuck that and now all the sudden you like it xbox 360 for a reason. You think that console fanboys are REAL gamers but no you just a casual player just like to bitch stuff. PC is for mature players and console fanboys(like you) always bitch about everything. I am console and a PC player and I'm only 13 but i defend and understand the complexity if this issue. Beside you grammar sucks. and please Console fanboys...i mean little kids go to hell like Robert will. Robert Will has won the goldenraspberry award for posting one of the weakest argument against PC. No offense to decent/intelligent console players. in the end, i suggest you go back to grammar school and work on it. IW doesn't care about any reason from the gaming community especially yours. it's all about the $$$. Beside you never understand PC gaming because you never looked into the situation. Robert Will, Go back to grammar school :). PC gaming will never die and Valve majority market is PC players. Hahaha get a decent computer Robert Will. Besides, i don't know about you. PC user get free map content from valve while you console players have to pay. hahahahaha

Damoun Shabestari
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This sure attracted some Kotaku commenters. Let's hope this doesn't spread to the rest of Gamasutra.com

Robert Lou
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It's easy to dismiss this as a unavoidable eventuality, but the way companies treat their customers, and their perceived quality makes a huge impact on how well it sells in the PC community. When you sell a game that has none of the features that multiplayer PC games have enjoyed for over a decade, it does hurt your PC sales significantly.



The very fact that other popular games like Dragon Age (winner of almost every game of the year award for the PC, and some overall GOTY awards, including one from this site), and games like L4D are not on here is a testament to that. Instead, these huge multi-million and hugely popular titles, one which featured no real online play, are not on the chart, losing out to three mediocre managed console ports, including a much delayed street fighter port, a racing game, and a game that scored a 70 on metacritic. Spore created much controversy over its over protective DRM that caused damage to a lot of PC's, and to no surprise, it was pirated several times more then games like Fallout 3, which had both much better retail success and more widespread popularity as a game, a game which featured no DRM WHAT SO EVER, meaning it was uploaded an hour after release onto the torrents.



If their was no huge correlation between treatment of the PC audience and sales, we wouldn't see such a huge disparity between PC overall sales and Piracy rates. The top three best selling games for the PC are MW2, L4d2 and Dragon Age. Yet the other two titles are nowhere to be seen on these lists. The other four titles on this list, would rank where between 5-15 in terms of overall PC sales.



Unless your seriously suggesting a game like prototype garnered more popularity among the PC crowd then games like L4D and Dragon age, its quite plausible that IW-ward lost hundred thousand+ sales as a direct result of treatment their PC community like shit. 100,000+ sales is nothing to scoff, at, and would almost double the current amount sold on the PC.



@Robert Will: If we ignore it, mebbe it'll go away o.o

William Thompson
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@ Paul and Robert



Hey, Gentleman, this is not the place for name calling. Do either of you understand what a community is? Do you realize that no matter how monetarily legit of an art-form or pass-time game development and playing are, people still look at us as clowns and children? All you are doing with your "fag" and your grammar talk (which, by the way, is funny reading your post, and I hope that the sarcasm was written in and not just me hoping that a 13- year- old's grammar is not that bad) is holding us all back from being respected. We should be showing people that they are wrong, not proving them right.



Also, Paul Le, all games released by a major company as a AAA title are only about money. Corporations have one objective and that is profit. If a game happens to be good that is a bonus, because they can rehash it, add a little shine and polish and call it a sequel. You can bet that they wouldn't release it if they didn't see the possibility of profit.



For the complaining masses, uh, yeah, that's what we all do. The trick is to be factual and back up your opinions with some sort of logical thought. If we are constructive and don't attack, we may, as a community, be able to push this industry in the direction WE want, and not leave it up to the corporate suits.



Just my opinion.

Paul Le
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@William Thompson...no I'm trying to insult Robert guy because he like to mess around for my Xbox 360 section a lot. Plus he a troll. I know thousand for over month people like this tend to explain that. I'm not stupid. trolls doesn't care what you think and that is holding is for being respected. "as long as mankind around this earth, there will be wars"--Albert Einstein. Greed has poisoned out souls. and this post for example. Anyone hate PC are console trolls, console kids, and console fanboys and that 's the fact. They the one that started the flame wars, not the pc players. No offense to decent/intelligent console players Except He went into my YT account screwing around. I blocked him because of that. I don't want to tell anyone YT account. I know it all about the money. Company made games for money, not by debating.

Paul Le
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Beside even though we go constructive argument, Robert still wouldn't understand. he a troll. I'm now a pc player now and no longer a xbox 360 player.

Chris Kaminari
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Heyy I understand it all....who the hell wants to pay $60 for a piece of crap game that is over hyped and disappointing in the end?

I sure as hell dont, so I didnt buy Modern Warfare 2. I refuse to pirate because its screwing the companys that develop the games, not the big names such as Microsoft or Sony directly.

Personally, I hate Call of Duty and will one day make a game that is satisfying for both the FPS crowd, and basically everyone else.



Why is it that FPS are the most popular games? There needs to be a console MMO.....BADDDDDD.

Eddie Vertigo
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Hey kids, let's try and keep future comments on Gamasutra a bit more constructive and mature. And to negatively put down a game, platform or genre simply because you don't like it is silly, and implies that you may suffer from a form of arrested development.

Matt Ross
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"Yet my understanding is that a pirated version of MW2 would not be able to play multiplayer. I would have assumed that this would have lead to less pirated copies..."



thats just it! Multiplayer was so screwed up in the legit version that no one cared about it, so of course they would pirate a 5 hr long game that cost like 5 times the price of a movie ticket!

Eric Feliu
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What I find interesting is no one is commenting on House of the Dead Overkill piracy numbers. That game was pirated more than it was purchased and by a significant number of units too. No wonder 3rd party Wii games have trouble selling. All of the gamers are pirating on the Wii and only the general consumer is actually paying for the software, thus the lower unit sales.

Jeferson Soler
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@Eric Feliu



Good point! I noticed that, too. This is something that 3rd party companies should be aware of if they are not already.

Maurício Gomes
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I already expected this... Like most of you maybe know, I am from Brazil, the piracy heaven country.



Here MW2 was widely pirated for PC by downloads too, but it do not sold well pirated (in fact, there are more DVD-R piracy than download piracy, mainly because only 3% of the country population has broadband), mainly because people were curious about the hyped game but was unwilling to spend any money on it (btw: a DVD-R copy of MW2 is 5 USD) The same applied to prototype (a cousin of mine even tried to copy from his external HD to my computer, and I denied, and not because I did not wanted pirated stuff, but because I disliked the game at all).



EA games I know that are being pirated just to show to EA how pissed gamers are... I have a group of friends that each one spent on Steam end year promo about 300 USD each one, and NOONE bought a SINGLE EA game... But three guys downloaded pirated Mirror Edge, Dead Space and Spore, The Sims 3...

Maurício Gomes
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I already expected this... Like most of you maybe know, I am from Brazil, the piracy heaven country.



Here MW2 was widely pirated for PC by downloads too, but it do not sold well pirated (in fact, there are more DVD-R piracy than download piracy, mainly because only 3% of the country population has broadband), mainly because people were curious about the hyped game but was unwilling to spend any money on it (btw: a DVD-R copy of MW2 is 5 USD) The same applied to prototype (a cousin of mine even tried to copy from his external HD to my computer, and I denied, and not because I did not wanted pirated stuff, but because I disliked the game at all).



EA games I know that are being pirated just to show to EA how pissed gamers are... I have a group of friends that each one spent on Steam end year promo about 300 USD each one, and NOONE bought a SINGLE EA game... But three guys downloaded pirated Mirror Edge, Dead Space and Spore, The Sims 3...


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