Trusting in TorrentFreak’s numbers, Call of Duty: Black Ops was the most downloaded (read: pirated) game of 2010. You probably could have predicted that, but there’s something far more interesting in the Xbox 360 numbers, and it’s that Black Ops was only the fifth most pirated game of the year. The number one Xbox 360 game on this ignominious list is Dante’s Inferno. That’s an odd one.
Lord only knows how TorrentFreak is able to put together these lists, but they’re the best we’re ever going to get, so it’s worth a quick discussion.
First of all: can we finally put aside the notion that piracy is only possible on the PC? To install a PC game these days pretty much requires you to draw a chalk outline of Metatron in your kitchen, then hope to high heaven that Ubisoft’s (or whoever’s) authentication servers remain online. Why don’t you have to do that with the console version?
Oh, right: because piracy online exists on the PC, so let’s spend untold sums either developing or buying a DRM regime. That’ll solve the problem.
Then there’s the obvious one: what good did all that DRM do if people are still able to pirate the game?
The Nintendo list is also worth a mention, with Super Mario Galaxy 2 coming in first place. What’s most interesting here is that, looking around various Usenet indexing sites, it seems that Nintendo games have a habit of disappearing from popular servers. Could Nintendo be quietly fighting Usenet-based piracy? It would certainly seem that way.
As to my headline question, it would suggest that we’re all fine with playing generic shooter after generic shooter, over and over again. Let’s not forget that all those music games pretty much ruled the world a few years ago, and where are they now? Could the same thing happen to the current Call of Duty craze?