Software profits plundered by pirates

Study says electronic entertainment industry lost an estimated $3.2 billion worldwide.

The Interactive Digital Software Association (IDSA) announced Tuesday that the electronic entertainment industry lost an estimated US$3.2 billion worldwide in 1998 due to software piracy.

This figure is almost half of what the industries' estimated sales were in '98, $6.3 billion according to The NPD Group.

IDSA's findings are part of an International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) report, covering the 58 countries named in the IIPA filing. In China, over 95 percent of the market is pirated product (an estimated $1.42 billion), with the Russian Federation, Mexico, and Hong Kong containing a high amount of counterfeit entertainment software products.

"Worldwide piracy dollar losses, which don't even include losses due to online piracy, are only half the story," said Doug Lowenstein, president of the IDSA. "Staggeringly low prices for pirated entertainment software mean that a huge number of counterfeit games are being fenced. For instance, in a country like Thailand, where 93 percent of the market is counterfeit, games are available for as little as 70 cents. When you realize that pirated games are sold for pennies on the dollar and enough are sold to equal losses of $3.2 billion, then you begin to understand the immense magnitude of the problem."