đź“Ś Get the latest strategies to protect your revenue in your inbox

What is video game piracy and how can businesses prevent it?
5 mins

What is video game piracy and how can businesses prevent it?

Table of Contents:

    1 in 10 gamers illegally downloaded or played a pirated video game in 2022. The scale of piracy is worrying for many involved in the video games industry. Video game developers, publishers, and studios all suffer if piracy is allowed to continue unchecked. 

    So, what’s the solution? How can you prevent video game piracy from impacting your business and destroying your brand’s reputation? In this blog, we’ll be exploring a variety of topics concerning video game piracy, including: 

    • What is video game piracy?
    • Examples of video game piracy
    • What impact does piracy have on businesses in the video game industry?
    • How can Red Points’ Anti Piracy software help game developers, publishers, and studios?

    What is video game piracy?

    Video game piracy is when an individual, group, or business copies and/or distributes video game software without the authorization of the intellectual property owner of the video game. This kind of piracy is a form of copyright infringement. Unfortunately, this kind of credential sharing and piracy is rife within the industry. It presents a major problem for video game publishers, developers, and studios. 

    Red Points' Anti Piracy Solution

    Examples of video game piracy

    Video game piracy is bad for gamers, developers, and publishers. Scammers seek to profit off the hard work of those in the video game industry by making unauthorized copies. If you work in the video games industry it is important that you know how to recognize various kinds of video game piracy. Here are a few examples of modern video game piracy: 

    • Nintendo lost almost $1 billion due to illegal copies of PokĂ©mon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum. In response, they implemented anti-piracy features in their newer games which detect whether or gamers are playing their games on official or unofficial hardware. 
    • Call of Duty: Black Ops had over 4.2 million illegal downloads when it launched back in 2010. Call of Duty has had many iterations, almost all of which have suffered from both physical and digital piracy. Even for a massively popular video game series, piracy has the ability to hinder growth and eat away at revenue. 
    • A member of a notorious hacker and video game modding group, Team Xecuter, plead guilty to piracy charges and paid Nintendo $4.5 million. Gary “GaryOPA” Bowser was arrested in 2020 and was the subject of criminal and civil piracy lawsuits involving Nintendo. Bowser agreed to pay penalties of $4.5 million to Nintendo in his criminal plea as well as $10 million in a separate civil case

    More recently, Bowser was also sentenced to forty months in prison by a US District court after being found guilty of creating/selling illegal devices and software that allowed users to play pirated copies of Nintendo games. 

    What impact does piracy have on businesses in the video game industry?

    Video game piracy is damaging to many for a variety of reasons. Here are a few of the ways piracy can impact businesses in the video game industry:

    Losses in revenue

    Video game piracy leads to losses in revenue. For video game publishers, developers, and studios piracy inevitably means that they are losing players who might have bought their games legitimately. This results in diminished sales and an overall loss of revenue. To some extent, many video game businesses accept the reality of piracy and acknowledge it as an unfortunate part of doing business. However, if businesses consistently lose revenue they restrict their ability to grow, make creative steps, and engage new customers. 

    Poor user experience

    When a game is pirated, the video game developer, publisher, or studio can no longer guarantee or safeguard the user experience. Cracked video games will often offer an inferior user experience that will not be true to the original creator’s vision. Further, pirated games will not be supported by developers, unlike legitimate versions, meaning users of pirated games will not benefit from updates, patches, or improvements. 

    Damaged reputation

    Video game piracy damages the reputation of the developers and distributors of the game. If your game is widely pirated this is usually an indication that your digital rights management (DRM) software and policies are failing. This reflects poorly on the professionalism and seriousness of your business. Consumers will lose trust in your business and look elsewhere for their video game needs. The value of your video game copyright will suffer. 

    Stress on customer support teams

    Video game piracy places an enormous burden on the customer support team. They will act as the first line of defense and contact for confused and angry customers. If your video game is widely pirated then your customer support team will be overloaded with complaints and reports of piracy. In an ideal world, this is not what you want your customer support team to be dealing with following the launch of your game. 

    How can Red Points’ Anti Piracy software help game developers, publishers, and studios?

    Red Points’ Anti Piracy Software is geared towards helping all types of businesses safeguard their intellectual property – giving you the tools you need to pursue scammers and pirates. 


    Red Points’ machine learning technology uses automated bot-powered search to rapidly detect pirated video games or copyright infringement wherever it is hiding online. Once a potential infringement on your intellectual property rights has been identified, it is immediately added to a log on our platform. Then, on our platform, you can review a detailed log of all the potential infringements we’ve managed to detect.


    Once we’ve detected potential infringements it will be up to the brand owner to review and validate which detections are in fact genuinely infringing on your intellectual property. While this is the manual step in our process, it is necessary because it not only gives you control over what is taken down on behalf of your brand, but it also helps our machine learning detection software to improve its accuracy. However, because Red Points is aware that this manual task itself can quickly become overwhelming, you are given the option to implement “smart rules” that can automate aspects of this process for you. 

    The smart rules work by attributing certain characteristics of infringements to a white list or blacklist, for instance, if you know certain sellers are authorized to resell game keys you could add them to a white list which automatically removes them from our log. On the other hand, if you know that your products are not available on particular platforms, then we automatically know that anything detected on those platforms is genuine infringement. This functionality is meant to give you back your time to focus on your business but also allows us to get infringements taken down immediately, which can ultimately save your business money in the long run.


    Following validation, our Anti Piracy software immediately and automatically initiates a takedown process of the infringement. This part of the process is handled entirely by Red Points on your behalf, and we provide you with a detailed report on the incident when the takedown process has been completed for a particular infringment. 

    In addition to the reports you would receive post takedown, on the platform you can review several dashboards and insightful reports will also help you measure the overall effectiveness of your video game Anti Piracy effort. 

    What’s Next

    Video game piracy does not need to be a constant nuisance for your business. Today, there are effective ways to combat video game piracy that are inexpensive and efficient. By implementing Anti Piracy measures you ensure that you can protect your reputation, safeguard your profits, relieve the burden on your customer support team, and maintain a quality user experience. 
    Red Points’ Anti Piracy Software is a simple and effective solution to help you track and remove illegal content at the source. There is no indication that video game piracy is in decline, which means that if you want to succeed in the video game industry you have to protect your copyright’s lifetime value. To learn more about how our Anti Piracy software works, request a demo here.


    You may like...

    How do video game copyrights work?
    How to prevent digital piracy
    Digital Rights Management: what it is and why you need it to protect your digital content