Does piracy really threaten the video game industry, as the Entertainment Software Association seems to believe? Reflexive, publisher of PC game Ricochet Infinity recently crunched the numbers and shared them with the game industry publication Gamasutra. The results in a nutshell: Piracy is huge, the impact on actual sales not so much.

Reflexive's director of marketing Russell Carroll told Gamasutra that his company has to deal with a massive amount of piracy. In his own words:

"It looks like around 92% of the people playing the full version of Ricochet Infinity pirated it."

The company realized that they had to do something about this, so they started to tweak their digital rights management. Some counter-measures worked better than others, but the different updates gave Reflexive an unique opportunity to measure the impact of pirated copies on sales.

The results are surprising: For each 1000 pirated downloads the company prevented, it only sold one more legitimate copy. Gamasutra quotes Carroll with the words:

"Though that doesn’t make a 92% piracy rate of one of our banner products any less distressing, knowing that eliminating 50,000 pirated copies might only produce 50 additional legal copies does help put things in perspective."

Russell Carroll's guest column also provoked a lot of really insteresting responses from game industry insiders. Read the complete article and all the comments at

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