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Do pirates check Metacritic?

New study shows correlation between Metacritic scores and BitTorrent downloads

A new study of P2P site BitTorrent showed a link between pirated downloads of games and their Metacritic scores.

Conducted by the Copenhagen Business School and the University of Waterloo, the study examined 173 new titles over a period of three months, and found a connection between number of downloads and aggregated review scores.

"The result indicates a statistically significant positive relationship between the number of unique peers and aggregated review scores. Put differently, Metacritic Scores explain 10 per cent of the variance in the unique peers per game on BitTorrent," read the paper.

127 of the 173 games included in the study were available on BitTorrent, with the top ten accounting for 42 per cent, or 5.3 million of the total downloads.

For the three month period studied, Fallout: New Vegas was the most popular games for users, with 962,793 downloads. Casual game Bejeweled 3 also accounted for 250,000 unique user downloads.

"There are a lot of numbers being pushed in the piracy debate but a lot of them are being critiqued from different sources, and not a lot of them are based on open methodologies – we were wondering what was actually happening," researcher Anders Drachen told TorrentFreak.

The paper was presented as part of the Foundations for Digital Games 2011 Conference, and was the biggest examination of game piracy via P2P networks so far.

Rachel Weber avatar

Rachel Weber

Senior Editor

Rachel Weber has been with GamesIndustry since 2011 and specialises in news-writing and investigative journalism. She has more than five years of consumer experience, having previously worked for Future Publishing in the UK.