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The True Cost of Piracy – Football Manager 2013

November 15th, 2013 by



On Wednesday the annual London Game Conference took place. One of the main talking points of the event was provided by Sports Interactive’s Miles Jacobson.  The man at the helm of the Football Manger series revealed the true cost of piracy to the company, and provided some very interesting statistics.



Football Manger 2013 was released on November 2nd last year, however it wasn’t until May when a cracked version was made available online.  Sports Interactive claim that this delay equals to an impressive sales increase of 4.9%. When an illegal version of the game was eventually made available, the crack contained a flaw which ‘called home’, giving Sports Interactive access to the IP address of every person that downloaded it. Using a collection of analytical tools the Sports Interactive team were able to use the raw data to generate a more accurate picture of illegal downloading and how it has affected sales of FM 2013.

Despite it taking 191 days for a cracked version to appear online, Miles revealed the game has been illegally downloaded to roughly 10,000,000 unique IP addresses. Of which 18% of those activations went on to play the game five times or more.

Since the illegal version came available, the overall legitimate activation rate has fallen by 17%.

Further investigation into these figures by Sports Interactive provide belief that 1.74% of illegal downloaders would have purchased the game if there had being no cracked version made available. They also believe that the company lost 32,000 sales post-crack. In relative terms, if the crack had being made available on day one, it would equate to a loss of 176,000 sales. Meaning a rough loss of $3,700,000 in net revenue.

Studio Director Miles also provided information as to which countries pirated the game the most;


Illegal downloads

Legitimate activation in the post-crack period


















South Korea


- 50%




+ 7%




- 37%




- 59%




- 91%




- 58%


Despite these statistics’ Football Manager 2013 was the biggest-selling game in the history of the franchise.





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5 Responses to “The True Cost of Piracy – Football Manager 2013”
  1. avatar Adamski UK says:

    Very clever of them to put a ‘tracking’ bug on the crack for information gathering…grabbing IP addresses? Is that ‘legal’?

    Aside from that, I couldn’t help but take the above data and compare it against population.
    China drops to the bottom of the list with only 0.17% of its population downloading the game.
    Just under 1% of Italians tried the game illegally downloaded. Shockingly, almost 7.5% of Portugal’s population of just over 10 million grabbed a copy…

    That’s almost one in every 14 people in Portugal!

    I also heard they’d traced one copy to the Vatican…Pope loves footie?

  2. avatar Will147 says:

    7.5% of Portugal downloading the game is a pretty ridiculous amount, but they love their football.

    As for tracking IP addresses being illegal ,I’m not sure but it can’t be anymore illegal than uploading a pirate copy. I think they have every right to do what they did. But these numbers really put into perspective how big a problem piracy is for the industry.

  3. avatar SittingDuck747 says:

    Law is very boring and convoluted. As for this country you would have to consider the RIPA act which in relation to ip addresses would mean you would have to consider what collateral intrusion would occur. Plus we have it all wrapped up in the human rights act, right to a private life etc. As for Portugal, they can probably hack your email without any kind of authority and order one million bottles of piripiri sauce to your door without so much of raising an eyebrow. What a wonderful country we live in.

  4. avatar Derek "Digi" McRoberts says:

    Identifying IP’s isn’t illegal, what’s done with that information may be.most likely they tracked the IPs back to the serving ISP. The problem I see here is that most allocated external IP’s are dynamically assigned so those figures could be easily skewed.

  5. avatar adyhd says:

    Great to finally get a figure on the true cost of piracy. However, for years we have been told that Piracy will kill the music and film industries yet we constantly see the lifestyles of the rich and famous get more and more extravagant due to their extortionate wages, funded by the general public.

    What bugs me, and today is a good day to vent this, is that there is no incentive to buy things digitally on day one. Prices are equivalent if not higher to do so. I would happily pay £10 to watch “Gravity” at home, tonight, on my TV, but I wont pay the £15+ to watch at a cinema and be subjected to the ads, overly priced popcorn, etc. Perhaps if these incentives were available, people wouldnt resort to piracy.

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