Which game of 2010 was illegally downloaded more than any other? The answer may (not) surprise you.
With 2010 almost over, it comes time to look back and reflect on the past year in gaming. We give out awards for quality as necessary, but there also comes a time to give out a significantly more dubious honor: Which game was the most downloaded more by pirates over the past twelve months?
The answer is Call of Duty: Black Ops - which really shouldn't be all that surprising, given the game's massive popularity - and that last year's "winner" was its predecessor Modern Warfare 2. According to TorrentFreak, Black Ops was downloaded a staggering 5.1 million times across both the PC (4.27 million downloads) and Xbox 360 (930K downloads).
While Black Ops was the most-pirated game on PC, beating out challengers Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Mafia 2, Mass Effect 2 and StarCraft II, this was surprisingly not the case on Xbox. There, BlOps took fifth behind Red Dead Redemption, Alan Wake, Halo Reach and a surprising leader: EA's derivative-seeming Dante's Inferno was downloaded 1.28 million times, making it the most-pirated Xbox 360 game of 2010.
On the Wii, it's no surprise that the most-pirated game was the superb Super Mario Galaxy 2 with 1.47 million downloads. Following in short succession were Wii Party (really?), Donkey Kong Country Returns, Kirby's Epic Yarn and Red Steel 2.
It's true that not every download is a lost sale. While it's a safe bet that some of the pirates would have bought the game were there no other choice, there's no way of knowing how low (or high) that percentage would be.
Either way, it's probably difficult to be one of the developers of a game like Dante's Inferno or Alan Wake and struggling with your bills, and then see that a million people played your game without ever paying you for it. For all pirates might want to crow about stickin' it to The Man, where The Man is Bobby Kotick or John Riccitiello, the CEOs aren't the ones really getting hurt by this.
The full chart is below:
1 Call of Duty: Black Ops (4,270,000)
2 Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (3,960,000)
3 Mafia 2 (3,550,000)
4 Mass Effect 2 (3,240,000)
5 StarCraft II (3,120,000)
1 Super Mario Galaxy 2 (1,470,000)
2 Wii Party (1,220,000)
3 Donkey Kong Country Returns (920,000)
4 Kirby's Epic Yarn (880,000)
5 Red Steel 2 (850,000)
Xbox 360 Games:
1 Dante's Inferno (1,280,000)
2 Alan Wake (1,140,000)
3 Red Dead Redemption (1,060,000)
4 Halo Reach (990,000)
5 Call of Duty: Black Ops (930,000)