Thanks to the sanctions placed on Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine, some game publishers and platforms have stopped selling their games in the country. According to research by School XYZ, an online game development platform, the exodus has resulted in just under 70% of Russian gamers becoming pirates.
The research revealed that around 7 in 10 Russian gamers pirated games in 2022, that’s up from previous years with 5 in 10 saying they’re pirating more than before. Luckily for game publishers, more than 9 in 10 gamers said they purchased at least one title last year legitimately.
The amount of content Russian gamers pirated varied quite a lot. In all, 69% admitted to engaging in piracy. Of those, 27% admitted to pirating three games last year while 20% said they had pirated more than 10.
Of the 31% who didn’t engage in piracy, all of them said they were opposed to piracy. This group of respondents could be an interesting demographic for domestic game publishers who are still selling games in the country.
Popular gaming platforms like Steam and GOG stopped supporting Russian bank cards following the invasion, making it more difficult for people in the country to buy games legitimately. For people with no moral qualms about piracy, pirating games is almost as easy and they don’t have to pay.
While 31% of gamers refuse to pirate right now, TorrentFreak says some are warning that we could see piracy rates reach 90%. It cited Vengeance Games co-founder Konstantin Sakhov who said overseas game publishers had lost up to $300 million in profits as a result of the piracy and local reports claim even the domestic gaming industry is feeling the pinch.
With more Russians accustomed to piracy now, even if the sanctions were lifted tomorrow, there is no telling how long it will take piracy levels to come back down again. While some would prefer the convenience of platforms like Steam, others would prioritize saving money, even illegally.