Title: Patterns in the distribution of digital games via BitTorrent

Authors: Anders Drachen; Robert W.D. Veitch

Addresses: Department of Communication and Psychology, Aalborg University and PLAIT Lab, Northeastern University, 360 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA ' Department of IT Management, Copenhagen Business School, Howitzvej 60, 4th floor, 2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark

Abstract: The distribution of illegal copies of computer games via digital networks forms the centre in one of the most heated debates in the international games environment, but there is minimal objective information available. Here the results of a large-scale, open-method analysis of the distribution of computer games via BitTorrent peer-to-peer file-sharing protocol is presented. 173 games were included, tracked over a period of three months from 2010 to 2011. A total of 12.6 million unique peers were identified across over 200 countries. Analysis indicates that the distribution of illegal copies of games follows distinct pattern, e.g., that a few game titles drive the traffic - the 10 most accessed games encompassed 42.7% of the number of peers tracked. The traffic is geographically localised - 20 countries encompassed 76.7% of the total. Geographic patterns in the distribution of BitTorrent peers are presented, as well as time-frequency distributions of torrents, and additional results.

Keywords: computer games; security; piracy; game piracy; BitTorrent; economics of piracy; video games; analytics; software piracy; digital piracy; media; communication.

DOI: 10.1504/IJAMC.2013.053675

International Journal of Advanced Media and Communication, 2013 Vol.5 No.1, pp.80 - 99

Published online: 02 Sep 2013 *

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