Piracy cost Japanese industry over 3.8 trillion Yen

Japanese video games industry body CESA has released a report revealing the results of its investigation into piracy in the local industry.

The study, conducted in conjunction with the Tokyo University’s Baba Lab revealed that the members of the Japanese industry lost over 3.8 trillion Yen ($US41 billion) in potential revenue over the last five years as a result of worldwide piracy on the Nintendo DS and PlayStation Portable alone. Domestic piracy accounted for some 954 billion Yen of that total.

According to Andriasang.com, who has analysed the report, researchers checked 114 piracy sites for Japanese versions of the top 20 selling titles from 2004 through to 2009. The total figure was calculated by factoring in the price of the games and the ratio of sales for the top 20 to the whole market. The worldwide figure was calculated by multiplying the Japanese figure by four. CESA also mentions that peer-to-peer file sharing sites were not counted in the study, so the figure could be even higher.

Dissidia: Final Fantasy was one of the most heavily pirated titles

CESA’s researchers also noted that the vast majority of piracy sites were hosted in America, with China a close second. No such sites were found to be hosted in Japan.

Piracy is a widespread problem for the industry, particularly for the handheld systems which have proven to be the easiest to crack. It is worth noting that CESA’s research is limited only to downloads of pirated games – a lot of piracy on the Nintendo DS is conducted through bootleg sales at flea markets and auction sites, often to unsuspecting customers who are under the impression they are purchasing a legitimate product. On the flipside, one could argue that CESA’s lost revenue figure is inflated as all people who download a copy of the game would not necessarily purchase that game if it were not obtainable through illegal means.

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