A new report by the European Commission came to the conclusion that piracy doesn't have an negative impact on game sales. It's actually quite the opposite, as it would actually increase game sales – though the report is based on data from 2014 so things have certainly evolved since then.
For games, the estimated effect of illegal online transactions on sales is positive – implying that illegal consumption leads to increased legal consumption,” the report reads. This positive effect of illegal downloads and streams on the sales of games may be explained by the industry being successful in converting illegal users to paying users. Tactics used by the industry include, for example, offering gameplay with extra bonuses or extra levels if consumers pay.”
The report gathered data from the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Poland and Sweden and found out that 51 per cent of adults and 72 per cent of minors have illegally downloaded or streamed games, films, books, series or music. For games specifically, only 18 per cent admitted they have illegally downloaded or streamed games, and 16 per cent said that have played on a chipped console. Poland and Spain have higher piracy rates,” the report adds.
If piracy seems to have a positive impact on games sales, the report didn't find any robust statistical evidence” that piracy has an impact at all on creative content as a whole. That does not necessarily mean that piracy has no effect but only that the statistical analysis does not prove with sufficient reliability that there is an effect,” the report says. An exception is the displacement of recent top films. The results show a displacement rate of 40 per cent which means that for every ten recent top films watched illegally, four fewer films are consumed legally.”