Friday, November 7, 2008

Fallout 3 Sales and Piracy

Wired reported yesterday that Fallout 3 earned Bethesda $300 million, with 4.7 million units shipped between the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 versions. The game was released on October 28, 2008.

But with just about 3 weeks before launch, the game had already been leaked and pirated on the Xbox 360. If we are to believe PC developers who claim that piracy of PC games makes them unprofitable, how are we to interpret this information? PC games are usually pirated the day of release, maybe a few days prior. Fallout 3 was pirated on a console almost 3 weeks before release!

I don't know the breakdown of sales between platforms, as that information doesn't seem to be available. So it's hard to say exactly, but I'll hedge my bets and say that piracy of Fallout 3 on the Xbox 360 did not negatively impact sales in the way that PC developers claim that such piracy impacts PC sales. I'd even go so far as to say that this is the kind of evidence that really puts that entire line of reasoning into question.

[UPDATE]: I just found this article in PC World, which states that the Xbox version of the game accounts for 55% of sales. This only further supports my conclusion.

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