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The Pope loves pirated Football Manager 2013

Or at least one of the people living within the Vatican does and I can't imagine there's that many PC's that are capable of playing contemporary games in that restricted community, even if that modern game is a Football management simulator. There's probably not that many people that know how to work a crack there either.

This all came to light as part of a speech by Sports Interactive founder and boss, Miles Jacobson, who said during a talk at the London Gamees Conference 2013(via MCV), that to see how many people pirated its latest Football Manager game, it added a bit of spyware to the version of its game that ended up circulating on torrent sites. That little bit of malware sent the IP address of every downloader to Sports Interactive, letting it track just how many people had downloaded it and where those people were.

While this seems like a bit of an invasion of privacy, especially considering most of the people that downloaded it will be fans of Jacobson's games, the results are quite interesting, especially since one of the downloaders lives in the Vatican.

‘Dammit, she's going to make me late for kick-off.' Source:  presidencia.gov.ar

The majority of illicit, virtual managers however, come from China, where over three million people downloaded copies. Turkey had just over a million itself and Portugal a little less than 800,000. All inn all, over 10 million copies of the game were downloaded.

Jacobson also announced that while he doesn't think his company lost 10 million sales with the pirated copies going out, he thinks it could have ‘lost' his company 176,000 sales. According to his results, when the game was cracked, activations dropped off and many of those that pirated the game played it as many as five times.

KitGuru Says: Let's just consider that last point. Not only did Sports Interactive build in a bit of malware that tracks your IP address, but it also takes note of how often you play the game too. I'd love to know how this bit of malicious software is activated and hope it doesn't work for every legitimate user too. 

While I can understand the want to know more about piracy, Sports Interactive should look at companies like CD Projekt Red which treat its customers with a measure of respect and is rewarded with a rabid fan base. Bundling spyware with a game to catch out pirates just suggests a contempt for your fans which can hardly be a healthy way to grow an audience. 

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