Between 2004 and 2009, nearly $42 billion worth of Sony PSP and Nintendo DS games were illegally downloaded from file-sharing sites, according to a new study by the Computer Entertainment Suppliers Association.
The group, which puts on the annual Tokyo Game Show, calculated the figure by seeing how often Japanese versions of the 20 best-selling games between 2004 and 2009 were pirated. It then multiplied that figure by the manufacturer's suggested retail price of each title. According to Andriasang, a gaming-news site that focuses on the Japanese market, the researchers also included a "ratio of sales" figure of those top games to apply it to the market. It then multiplied that figure to arrive at a worldwide estimate for the industry.
The study included results from 114 of the world's most popular piracy sites. It didn't include peer-to-peer networks, which could push the figure significantly higher.
Piracy is becoming an increasing problem for the gaming industry. Last year, TorrentFreak revealed its list of the most-pirated games of 2009. It said that the PC version of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 was downloaded 4.1 million times from torrent sites. The Xbox 360 version of the game was downloaded more than 970,000 times. The game was only available for two months at that time.
In 2008, Spore was the most-pirated title of the year. It was illegally downloaded 1.7 million times.
It's worth noting that CESA's findings only include portable games. The organization has yet to tally console-based piracy.