Today at Gamasutra, they have an article by Reflexive’s director of marketing, Russell Carroll, on the matter of piracy of casual games.

He uses his own company’s game Ricochet Infinity for illustration. Carroll estimates that 92% of the people playing online were using pirated copies.

Yeah, that’s rather a lot. So they worked on various CP methods to see if that would help sales. As it turned, the answer is: not really.

Reflexive did see a slight increase in purchases. However, they also figure that it comes to 1 copy sold for every 1,000 pirated copies nullified.

Of course, there’s also the matter of the game itself. That is, whether or not it’s a quality product. It’s known that some gamers will grab a pirated copy of a poor game rather than buy it.

And, naturally, there are the freeloaders, who just want something for nothing. People who wouldn’t buy the game, even if they like it. They want it just because it is “free”.

In this particular instance, it seems pretty clear that reducing piracy did not lead to a worthwhile increase in sales. I’m not surprised, since I’ve believed for some time that most who pirate games (or anything else) were never going to buy then in the first place.

Which is also why I never believe those crazy figures various industry groups like to parade when they whine about “how much they’re losing” to piracy. It isn’t anyhere near as much as they’d like us to think.

Casual Games and Piracy: The Truth on Gamasutra