Study: Positive correlation between piracy and game review scores

Pirates may be dirty, pillaging fiends, but they have high standards, according to a study from Copenhagen Business School and University of Waterloo. The study tracked 173 new games on BitTorrent over a three-month release period, finding 127 of these were downloaded by 12.7 million unique peers, and that a torrent's popularity was directly correlated to its review scores. The 10 most-downloaded games comprised over 5.3 million downloads, or 42 percent of the 127 pirated games.

Fallout: New Vegas had the most downloads (962,793) and an average review score of 83.7, followed by Darksiders (656,296) with a review score of 82.7. Tron: Evolution had the lowest score of the top 10 at 59.5, yet came in fifth place (496,349). StarCraft 2 had the highest review score at 89.5 and landed in seventh place (420,138). Review scores can't trump a title's notoriety, reputation or core fanbase, but researchers found "Metacritic Scores explain 10% of the variance in the unique peers per game on BitTorrent." In other words, the only vessel that these pirates are sailing on is a statistically positive relationship.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.