“75% of Ero-Gamers are Pirates”


Three quarters of eroge users are pirates, with otaku as dishonest and opportunistic as normal people, says a source privy to industry insiders.

From a Twitter based exchange with light novel author Asai Lab, who reports he has been asking around in the eroge industry:

I’ve been speaking to people in the eroge industry. The 2007 market was about 30 billion yen in size ($330 million), over 2 million users. But of that only 500,000 actually buy anything. 1.5 million are pirates. An industry with three quarters of the users being illegal is pretty surprising.


The next thing about the eroge industry: With 75% of users pirates, it’s a given that the people in the industry suffer – creators are paid less and some aren’t even paid on time. They also live in fear of second-hand sales at places like Sofmap.

On top of this, user numbers are decreasing. That is to say, the legitimate users are decreasing in number…


Another thing is that there are no titles which keep selling for years and years, so-called “long sellers.” Sales are determined on the three days following release.

Why? Because most users are nothing but pirates waiting for the release. A pirate release ahead of the legitimate release spells doom for sales.

People in the industry dismiss the notion that otaku are good people as a fantasy.


It’s the same for BL games – fujoshi are no different.

Makers try to stem the tide a little by padding out the games with dummy files, but they get circulated all the same.


The piracy numbers are clear from traffic analysis. Sengoku Rance sold 100,000 copies, but there were 1,000,000 downloads of the patch. So the amazing truth is that 90% of the users are pirates and now only 10% are legitimate.


The industry fights back with limited edition packages and download sales for older titles. Illegal downloads increase as well, even with serials, but it’s better than nothing.


They also put out consumer editions [non-ero console ports] – these increase brand loyalty. Merchandising also comes into play, which is low risk but also has triflingly small profit margins of 5-7%.

Mainstream PC gaming overseas is now also a pale shadow of what it once was, with publishers increasingly shunning it in favour of console releases and subscription based online games.

NPD statistics for US retail PC game sales show sales at $538 million in 2009, versus $1.6 billion in 2001, although this excludes digital sales from DRM reliant services such as Steam.

Pirates and most Internet media typically claim DRM itself depresses sales, but the DRM and lower piracy rates offered on consoles now easily guarantee sales which dwarf anything on the PC, and claims that easy piracy does not result in lost sales seem to defy common sense, although publisher claims that all pirated copies constitute a lost sale are hardly to be believed either.

Without access to consoles or effective technical impediments to piracy, it appears the eroge industry faces a bleak future indeed.

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    Comment by Anonymous
    20:58 08/05/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    It's not a bug in the game, but a bug in your moral code.

    End of story.

    Comment by Anonymous
    Comment by Anonymous
    22:14 08/05/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    seriously, if eroge is a piece of crap, why do they still continue to make this software? It's because there is still people out there wanted to play. And if you don't really want to play, fine then. But still there are people who play and follow the story like otakus and fan. Whether the characters are all made of 'cardboards' and 'voices', it's still a product of an artist.

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:36 08/05/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    iPhone game devs esteminate piracy rate to be at 90%.

    So, your average ero-gamer is less piratish than casual gamer.

    Oh, and there is the real kicker - 90% iphone apps users are pirates, but only 10% of iphones are jailbroken. And yes, you need jailbroken iphone to run pirated content:D

    This tells us two things:
    1. Even very effective and draconian DRM won't save your system from having 90% piracy rate. DRM really doesn't work, period.

    2. Mere 10% users generate all your piracy. Loses from piracy are not 9 times your legitimate sale count, but 1/10 of your legitimate sales.

    Losses from piracy are overestimated by factor of 90!!! Divide whatever developers are claiming by 90, and you will get reasonably accurate number.

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:47 09/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    That's unlikely. The likelihood of the percentage of jailbroken iPhones being wrong and much higher in reality is bigger...

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:32 08/05/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    While we mateys may enjoy the booty

    Our days be numbered as less people make games.

    Truthfully though, while we pirates are cheap, many of us wouldn't buy it anyway if we could not pirate them like the cheap fags we are.

    And if getting it from being cheap fags is easier then the right way, this happens.

    Stop trying to justify being pirates.
    You're either:
    1: Too Poor
    2: Too Cheap
    3: You want to play it but either you:
    - Think it is too expensive hence: Too Poor
    - Don't think you should pay because:
    * You can't read the original language OR
    * Too lazy to/can't get it from store/online/import:
    * Hence not paying for because:
    - You get it for free so...
    Hence : Too Cheap

    It might truly not be worth the money, but if you don't buy it !AND THEN! pirate because of that reason, you're too cheap :P

    Technically if we are all law-abiding, if we can't get the games legally ourselves you would give up. But it's a guilty pleasure as we all know heh.

    Avatar of Azure Xuchilbara
    Comment by Azure Xuchilbara
    23:46 08/05/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    *Is too busy gawking at Konata*

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:55 08/05/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    I've bought all my games since 1982. Lately I only play live MMOs and have bought all that software as well. The Playstation 2 games I bought recently were all rehashed old stuff, just cant play that thing no more. The computer games (single player) I've bought really stink and no longer follow a path of games I like. Just don't have time any more for the garbage.

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:10 09/05/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    I myself as an ero-gamer as well cant deny the fact I depend on pirates... since knowingly all to well getting eroges shipped to my country is illegal <_< just so when you know how bothersome red tapes are

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:25 08/05/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    If they started translating games maybe they people would actually buy them.

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:58 08/05/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    If you want to get rid of piracy, then release your game as Donationware, without the dreadful DRM.

    Pirates can't pirate Donationware or Freeware, & software crackers have no reason to crack games without DRM, thus 0% of piracy! If your game worth something, gamers will donate money to you as they deem worthy.

    Other alternative would be include used pantsu from highschool girl with your overpriced eroge game, which pirates can't download from Internet!

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:24 04/07/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    How about some English eroge for the 360/PS3, now? I'd like to think they could lift the censorship requirements if they work out deals together with the eroge industry.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:31 26/06/2014 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    this is mostly due to not many u.s. releases of these games. I mean the only store that even sells anime or cosplay in my towns is 20 miles away and they DONT sell ero.....wtf am I surposed to do?

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:08 11/05/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    This is a sad situation but developers that make games only in japanese had it comming.
    Many people would legally buy games if they were in english.

    00:49 10/05/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    ROFL at the Konata pic.
    Really this is hard to judge as their target audience tends to pirate to try and then goes and buys the real thing so they can leave it on a shelf unopened.

    Many are over priced they'd have a lot less piracy if the games were not $80.

    The console DRM usually is less invasive then PC DRM because consoles are not general computing devices ie they don't have cd burners etc so not shit like securom or that festering pile of dog flop Assassin's creed 2 has.
    The article also is inaccurate since piracy is easy on consoles too there's an entire industry around mod chips.
    Would microshaft had to ban people on XBL if there wasn't?
    I consider everything but the Konata pic which made me lol a waste of band width.

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:09 10/05/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    I would argue that 75% of ero-gamers are pirates because 90% of ero-games are not sold outside Japan. And don't give me any BS about J-List... That is a very small share of the ero-games that are available. I would gladly pay for an English copy of Artificial Girl 3, but the developer won't make it... hell I cannot even buy the Japanese version, because they don't sell it outside Japan. SO I pirate every ero-game that looks interesting to me (that is not sold on J-list) that I can find an English patch for.
    ALSO, God's honest truth, the moment that any game that I am currently pirating comes on sale in English at a store or e-store that will sell to me here in the USofA, I will gladly empty my wallet.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:05 19/12/2016 # ! Neutral (0)

    Very true. Most people who make claims about piracy don't actually look into the situations, and thus have a tendency to reverse cause and effect; unfortunately, this faulty logic is then applied as a reason not to localise games, which has a direct result of causing more piracy.

    Many companies choose not to localise games because those games are already being pirated in potential target regions; due to this, they think the games won't sell in those reasons. Unfortunately, they fail to realise that the games are being pirated BECAUSE they aren't available in those regions; if they were, most players would buy them instead of pirating them. [This also holds true for, among other things, translated ROMs.]

    Additionally, a growing trend is "free demo" piracy; this is where a potential customer pirates the game, and uses that copy to determine whether they'll actually buy it. If they like it, then they buy the game, and usually end up becoming fans of the series (in which case, they usually buy other games in the series without buying them). This is especially common when games are remade; people will pirate the original, and use it to determine whether to buy the remake.

    And of course, there's the whole DRM fiasco. While some games use nice DRM (by which I mean "not full-fledged malware"), some DRM is inconspicuous (such as Steam DRM or old-fashioned CD keys) and/or come up with their own, unique DRM (such as Serious Sam 3's infamous DRM scorpion), a large number of games just use things like Starforce or SecuROM (both of which are bona fide malware (case in point, StarForce installs its own software without your consent, disables all SCSI hardware in your computer, opens major security holes, and has a tendency to outright destabilise Windows); that's even without getting into how StarForce can DESTROY CD DRIVES, and how the StarForce guys UPLOADED TORRENTS OF Galactic Civilisations AND Sins of a Solar Empire TO SPITE Stardock Software FOR NOT LIKING DRM; yes, that's right, StarForce is not just malware, but a protection racket that HELPS people pirate your games if you don't use their "DRM"). And when a game uses "bad" DRM (as in, either the "malware" kind, or just overly restrictive in general), people pirate the game as a form of really half-assed boycott: They don't support the company using DRM and want them to change their actions, but they want to play the game anyways, so they just play without paying. [Not to mention that when a game uses "malware" DRM, pirating the game is actually LESS likely to destroy your computer than buying and installing the official version; the pirated version has the DRM removed, so any paying customers are effectively being punished for NOT pirating it instead.]

    The short of it is that if they released localised, DRM-free versions of their games, they'd actually see a lot less piracy than they see now.

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:08 08/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    of course.. it is humiliating to pay to have sex.

    Avatar of taz0x
    Comment by taz0x
    19:35 08/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    "dont' state the obvious" much?

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:04 08/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    yarrrrgh! me harties! ima pirate!

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:27 08/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    "An industry with three quarters of the users being illegal is pretty surprising."

    Not in America...here we have the Gardening Industry, the Fast Food Industry, the Voting Democrat Industry, the Construction industry, the Moving Industry, the Plumbing Industry, the Laundry Industry, thee Being SMELLY Industry..,

    Those are all like three quarters Illegal, if not more.

    Avatar of rihoko
    Comment by rihoko
    00:54 09/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    hmm.. looks like unicef will just have to fund the eroge industry to keep children on the streets safe. ^^; (j/k)

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:20 09/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yeah damn right I pirate. Maybe if we pirate enough, all these eroge bullshit will be gone!

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:06 09/05/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    lol i get your point xD but cant agree completely, there was 1 eroge that made into a nice anime, "True Tears" and i think Clannad (aldough i dont know if it was the novel first) well meaning Clannad Afterstory honestly, that one was beautiful.

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:31 09/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Strictly speaking, Clannad was never an 'eroge', since no 'adult' version was ever released. It is a visual novel/datesim all right, but without, ahem, porn.

    And to tell you the truth, Clannad VN >> Clannad TV.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:39 09/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yes, I do 'pirate' ero-games.... but only because there are no reasonable ways to get these things even in the United States where I live, without paying 100+ dollars for a game that would be 20 in Japan!

    Now, DLSite games? THOSE I buy on a regular basis, because I can download them and play them, 99 times out of 100, with no problems on my computers.

    Avatar of darknetwork
    Comment by darknetwork
    22:56 20/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    thanks god, i'm not alone

    Avatar of Ben
    Comment by Ben
    08:50 12/10/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Well duh, extreme sexual deviants aren't likely to have very high moral standards.

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:31 10/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Shit, who would pay $80 for porn? You can get 2 normal prostitutes or 1 high class with that. Paying $80 to just jack off repeatly in front of the computer screen is just unreasonable.

    Avatar of El Chaos
    Comment by El Chaos
    10:57 10/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    On a side note, 99% of eroges are boring, lifeless pieces of shit not worth the asking price and many of their publishers do not offer game demos, which is also the reason for PC game piracy, and Steam's popularity, skyrocketing.


    Comment by Anonymous
    02:07 09/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    And 98% of those games contains pedophilia.

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:48 09/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)


    You'd have said 60% contain adult rape fantasy, you might have been onto something, but not that. You're just a little bitch who wants to attack something they can't understand and that they group together with something worse.

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:24 09/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Japan doesn't want my dirty gaijin money, so I'm not buying any eroge that isn't by Propeller or Nitroplus.(Well, maybe Muv-Luv Alternative would be the exception.)

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:55 09/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I buy eroge that I really want (when i'm in Japan). There's no justification for paying for 90% of the titles that are released in the first place. The eroge markets never take risks to make something new that I think would be worth paying for.

    In a given year, there's maybe 1 or 2 titles that I think are worth the price they charge while the rest of them are an afterthought.

    Anything written by Takahiro (Maji de watashi ni Koi shinasai, Tsuyokiss, Kimi ga Aruji de Shitsuji ga ore de) is worth it in my opinion for a number of reasons I won't get into. The ones who get specific fan followings becuase they have a proven track record won't bitch about piracy too much. I mean naturally it's there but they'll make enough money due to the quality of their titles.

    The eroge production costs are very small relative to a western PC game title or a console title. Anyone can make one. The Doujin industry is revolutionizing eroge. Unfortunately it also means anyone with a computer, sketchpad and photo shop can make an eroge and then bitch about piracy.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:17 09/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    admit it, lol.
    you guys won't buy them even the price is like, 20$. and every pirate users says like, what you guys are syaing.

    "the game expensive" "the game is crap".

    lol, just be honest and say "i'm too stingy to buy them"

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:33 10/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)


    If those suckers cost 40 bucks top, I won't mind spending cash on it. Hell, A LOT OF PEOPLE WOULD.

    Set up a god-damn download/pay service. Being eroge, some people just don't wanna be caught dead taking one off the shelf and having to face the initial justification from the cashier and other buyers lining up along.

    That, and as many have lamented earlier, the quality doesn't match the price.

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:17 09/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Ugh... $20 is actually steep in some places. E.g. I've seen Dragon Age: Origins for as much as $25. In most cases, DAO would be more wise investment then some crappy doujinshi eroge, don't you think? That's why question of quality is of importance.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:51 09/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I'll just leave this here.

    As a side note, in some countries eroges are damn hard to buy legitimely. E.g. either you need to order from abroad -- being unsure if the package will make it through -- or visit abroad. In any case overall cost may rise up to 500%, which is god damn much.

    And here's another more generalized point: legit PC games in some countries are messed up with crappy translations (sometimes to the point of unplayability). To get a decent (english) version, you need to... right. Either get a pirate copy, or order it from abroad -- being unsure if the package will make it through.

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:28 09/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Question: How many of those legitimate buyers are the otaku who buy 10+ copies of the same game?

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:49 08/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Most ero-games are such complete garbage I'm surprised anyone would pay for them.

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:32 08/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Their fans disagree. I think you just have to look past the piles of garbage to find the good stuff.

    For me, I think garbage eroge are those with super-clean art styles which make them look boring. With the banning of dark themed eroge, that pile of garbage is sure to grow...

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:16 08/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    it's make me remember KID :< , they created ever 17 even for international speaker and they went bankrupt

    Avatar of Tokeijikaku
    Comment by Tokeijikaku
    14:19 08/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Eroge are way too easy money anyways.

    It evades me how people can be satisfied with a bunch of grimacing cardboard cutouts in front of disconnected theater backdrops, with only a handful of relevantly (but shamelessly partially) illustrated events. They're ripping us off, dammit!

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:55 08/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    This is what they get for only having perverts and otakus as their main selling target.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:00 08/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    internet is full of pirates.
    It's no surprise about that piece of news.
    No wonder some company like Minori is protesting and detesting outsider.
    sales drop less food on their table.

    Avatar of Chen-04
    Comment by Chen-04
    15:23 08/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Remember that crisis thing? With prices what they are its either buying eroges or buying food. So, if you can afford one eroge, you naturally want to buy that one you enjoyed the most. So you pirate everything and buy the best.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:26 08/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    naturally if everyone did the same, the result will be obvious. No matter how creative the game or anything made, if the sales goes down, nothing will ever work.

    Avatar of Chen-04
    Comment by Chen-04
    16:54 09/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yep, and don't come with "but it costs money to make those games, so we can't sell them so cheap". Just try using old games for digital distribution. Those who are currently for free. With an english translation you can charge, like, one buck per game and still will make some profit. Just ask those guys that otherwise translate the new games for free.

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:03 08/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    And the reason the sales "go down" is because the industry is incapable of progressing into the 21st century.

    Digital distribution and cheap prices are king.

    Avatar of Sychone
    Comment by Sychone
    15:01 08/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I wanted to buy Kirakira from Mangagamer when they offered it for half price, but wasn't sure about my debit card, because I still had a junior one. I got my new one, which is a MasterCard, so if any similar sale happens, I might just jump in it.


    and yeah, if they charged less for all eroges/VNs, maybe more people would be able/willing to afford them.
    (not pointing at MangaGamer, but universally)

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:29 08/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    MangaGamer actually sent out a press release, and announced so on their twitter account: They're have another sale on May 15-25th.

    Here are the details:

    Early Summer Sale Date & Time 
    5/15 10:00(CET)~ 5/25 10:00(CET)

    "Suika A.S+"
    49.95 Euros -> 24.95 Euros (Approximately US$32)

    "Suck my Dick or Die!"
    29.95 Euros -> 19.95 Euros (Approximately US$25)

    "Shera, My Witch"
    36.95 Euros -> 19.95 Euros

    Avatar of Sychone
    Comment by Sychone
    14:16 09/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Thanks, I'll keep an eye on them.
    Suika looks interesting...

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