Blizzard Entertainment’s StarCraft II is the most popular PC game title of 2010, but shares the unfortunate distinction of being the most pirated game title of the year.
The game quickly racked up 1.5 million units sold after 10 years of hype and anticipation, and can be purchased in-store or downloaded via BitTorrent. Blizzard first started using BitTorrent downloaders with its game titles with the release of World of Warcraft.
In the first 24 hours after release, more than 100,000 copies of Starcraft II were downloaded online via peer-to-peer networks. Since then, TorrentFreak believes 50,000 people are actively downloading and sharing more than 260,000 copies of the game.
Unfortunately, Blizzard wisely uses a BitTorrent tracker that doesn’t publicly list seed and leech information. TorrentFreak believes it’s possible StarCraft II could be the most popular game downloaded via BitTorrent.
There also is a continued effort to prevent video game piracy, especially with studios spending even more money towards development and marketing. Blizzard believes its universal online Battle.net service gives gamers a unique experience with the ability to play online and have an organized community — two appealing characteristics that could help reduce piracy of the title.
Blizzard has also claimed that using DRM is a “losing battle”, which can just leave legitimate customers frustrated.
Game studios have offered patch updates, maps, and other game features to gamers via BitTorrent in the past. The problem is that an in-game download or download through an official website is still a better recognized resource than a torrent.
I expect other studios to utilize BitTorrent in the future, but while also remaining very weary of game piracy.