28,772,303,165.695 – that’s the amount that a recent study by Japanese trade body The Computer Entertainment Suppliers Association reckons piracy has cost the global handheld video games industry.
Andriasang reports that the number comes from the joint efforts of the Tokyo Game Show organisers and Tokyo University’s Baba Lab and relates to just the DS and PSP.
It was calculated by monitoring the 114 most used piracy sites online for instances of people downloading any title to feature in Japan’s Top 20 chart for the last five years. CESA adds that peer-to-peer usage was not included in the study, meaning it believes the actual figures to be far higher.
The number for the Japanese market alone is estimated to be 7.1bn.
Interestingly, America was found to have the most servers hosting piracy websites, with China hosting the second most. The pair together accounted for 60 per cent of all guilty servers.
Of course, whether 29bn worth of piracy would in an ideal world translate into 29bn worth of sales is a big question. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that pirates are happy to try games for free that they would never consider actually paying for.