Pokemon: Platinum Tops Nintendo DS Piracy List

By Spencer . June 9, 2010 . 12:46am

imageWhen it comes to the top 20 selling Nintendo DS games in Japan, Pokemon: Platinum ranks number one as the most pirated game on the chart.


According to CESA, the game (and Giratina) was illegally downloaded 2,071,006 times. A far cry from the five million plus Dissidia: Final Fantasy downloads, but over two million is still a hefty figure. CESA estimates losses of 9,469 million yen ($103 million). Of course, that number doesn’t take used game sales, trading, and people who would have passed on purchasing the game unless it snowed in Bowser’s Castle.


Pokemon: Diamond was the number two most downloaded game with 1,862,899 transfers. Pokemon: Pearl, the companion game to Pokemon: Diamond, was number seven on the list with 1,441,273 downloads. Add those all together and you get 5,375,178 downloads of Pokemon: Diamond / Pearl / Platinum worth 24,575 million yen($269 million) in sales.


These are other top pirated and top selling Nintendo DS games in Japan


Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies
1,551,085 downloads worth 8,835 million yen ($97 million).

Mario Party DS
1,470,231 downloads worth  6,722 million yen ($74 million).

New Super Mario Bros.
1,455,577 downloads worth 6,655 million yen ($73 million).

Mario Kart
1,447,781 downloads worth 6,619 million yen ($72 million).

Pokemon: SoulSilver
1,129,469 worth 5,164 million yen ($56 million).


Top selling titles not targeted at core gamers were downloaded significantly less. Only 306,561 people downloaded the tenth game on the list, Tomodachi Collection. English Training, number 11, was downloaded 201,292 times. Now for a statistic that should lighten the mood, Common Sense Training was the 17th best selling Nintendo DS game, but the least pirated game on the list with only 89,667 downloads.


CESA reports a total of 19,347,668 downloads for the top twenty DS games and 86 billion yen ($941 million) in damages.

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  • epy

    I get somewhat irked every time CESA comes out with these estimated hundreds of millions in “damages”. Guess if piracy didn’t exist that struggling college student next door would own 100+ original DS cartridges.

    I understand piracy is a big issue for game companies, but when they come out and quote these numbers I can’t help to take them less seriously.

  • ElTopo

    Wonder if the rising costs of games has anything to do with it.

    • malek86

      I’m pretty sure DS games still cost as much as before. And from what I remember, prices for DS games are the same as GBA games, except that money loses value over time… so in the end, they actually cost less than GBA games.

      I don’t think the price argument is worthless, but you have to wonder whether it would truly make too much of a difference if a game costed $40 or $20, when you have the alternative of getting it for free.

      • ElTopo

        With the price point set @ a high of 40$ for portable games I think its a solid factor. With piracy so easy nowadays of course with the internet I think its also just natural for it to go up, its widely more available. With only a few clicks you can have pokemon platinum for free, dont even need to buy the gas to get to the store.

        Price is a factor, but far from the main reason.

        • malek86

          Yeah, but look. On the DS, the most pirated game is Pokemon Diamond, which sold around 10 million copies and had about 2 million pirated downloads. On the PSP, it’s Dissidia, with only 1 million copies sold and 5 millions downloaded.

          Let’s also consider the fact that Nintendo games never ever drop in price, not even years after release, and yet the most pirated game is the one that has dropped its price already, on the platform that is less widespread. The price argument becomes a bit difficult to back.

          Is it that Nintendo fans are that numerous and zealotic, or just that people weren’t willing to buy Dissidia after trying the demo? (and yet, they still downloaded it…)

          Or there’s something else here. Like, maybe getting a R4 is difficult? Though I doubt it. Maybe people are willing to pay for good games? That sounds unrealistic.

          • Ereek

            Maybe people are willing to pay for good games? That sounds unrealistic.

            Definitely unrealistic, to an extent. Great games can sell very little if they don’t have the marketing behind them (IE pretty much everything XSEED releases). It’s really a shame.

          • kupomogli

            You have to remember that Pokemon Diamond is older the Dissidia and there are many more DS owners than PSP owners. The reason for this is because the PSP was hacked and then within the first year able to play ISOs and later on CSOs, so the amount of sales kept developers away from the PSP and people just didn’t purchase the system due to lack of games.So between sold and pirated Dissidia, assuming that the majority of people who pirated didn’t buy would bring us to seven million. Where as Pokemon Diamond/Pearl sales and downloads would equal 20 million. Now not only does the DS have (about) three times as many sales. Pokemon Diamond and Pearl have been out two years longer than Dissidia in all countries. That gives two more years of possible pirating and sales. Where Dissidia has been in Japan for less than two years and has been out in the US and PAL regions less than a year.That kind of tells you that there are far more pirates on the PSP than the DS. No contest.Now this more than likely isn’t the case, but let’s say all Dissidia purchased sales were also those that pirated it. About three and a half to four million people pirated it without purchasing it.

  • Something that’s interesting to see is that even in the piracy “market,” the most popular titles tend to do the best. You would think that not paying for these games would affect the “pirated sales” of some of the more niche titles, but it would appear it doesn’t work that way. I guess what it comes down to is that everyone still wants to play the “best” games.

    Still, it should be interesting to compare the two and see what the difference is like.

    • 9thsage

      It could be that the people who like these niche titles are the ones who want to support the companies who are bringing these games out, thus don’t want to pirate them (or probably other games).

    • jarrodand

      Honestly, there’s not really enough data given to come to that conclusion. Piracy may inordinately effect lower selling games more.

  • Pichi

    I hope Nintendo and Sony have plans for the handhelds to have PS3-like piracy protection in their next handhelds or else its going to keep happening.

    I can’t believe Dissidia is like that. That tells me there are more hardcore pirates on the PSP than DS.

  • “[…] and people who would have passed on purchasing the game unless it snowed in Bowser’s Castle.”

    This is such a great, nerdy turn of phrase. Love it.

  • Does this mean that most pirates are 10 year olds? (Ha! See what I did there? Haters gonna hate!) ;)

    • M’iau M’iaut

      I would definitely put weight behind youngsters making parents aware of these “magic” carts that let them put ‘every DS game’ on a single cart…..and parents who don’t bother to press deeper when they discover they don’t have need to pay the babysitter ever again.

  • kupomogli

    I guess this proves people who state “piracy is more rampant on DS” wrong. The PSP was easily hackable with no additional purchase necessary. The DS all you have to do is get a flash card and it’s that simple, but the majority of DS owners are kids. I own both a PSP and DS, I have a CFW PSP but I don’t own a flashcard as I don’t see the point. I only have CFW on the PSP to play homebrew, emulators, and PSX games I already own and can easily rip myself.I hate people who say they wouldn’t have ever bought the game if it wasn’t available to pirate. That’s so much bs. If there’s a game you’re really interested in you’re more than likely going to purchase it because you want to play it. My favorite PSP game is Dracula X Chronicles, and quite awhile ago when I saw amount of downloads for that it was around two million+. It’s sad because the game is an amazing game and includes both Rondo of Blood and SotN yet received less than 200,000 sales. If it wasn’t for piracy we probably would have received other remakes in similar fashion.


    Are these numbers only in the US or worldwide amount of downloads?

    • jarrodand

      These numbers are worldwide but only reflect data from 25 surveyed websites. Actual illegal downloads are likely significantly higher all around. And on top of that the figures are top 20 only, and not for actual downloads but for the top 20 best selling games according to Famitsu, so you can’t really use it one way or the other in any “piracy is more rampant on ___” debate.

      PS: Pretty much every kid I see on the NYC subway with a DS/Lite has a card in it.

      • Joanna

        I have to agree with jarrodand here. Two of my young brother’s friends both have flashcards, so the whole claim that kids don’t pirate is false.

  • gukid

    Funny how the highest selling games (on ALL platforms) are also the most pirated, and they complain about lost sales. Can’t win em all Nintendo…

    They also don’t count in how many of those downloads are re-downloads, or useless downloads. A lot of people just download to collect, and never bother to play the game. I have an “R4”, and download to try out games, and then buy the ones I like (probably the minority, I know). I also download to “undub”, and get fan translations of games that will never come out here. It’s really out of necessity.

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