Punch Club has been pirated over 1 million times

By March 21, 2016 Publishing
pirated a looooot

Punch Club sold 300k copies total, got pirated over 1m times on PC, and 500k times on mobile

Today we celebrate Punch Club crossing 300,000 units sold – a huge milestone for tinyBuild and Lazy Bear Games. Being number geeks, we planted plenty of analytics into all versions of the game to figure out the exact numbers of… pirated copies of Punch Club.  We even went further and decided to see how localization might impact piracy, and have some interesting regional stats.

Revenue Split PC and Mobile

Piracy PC vs Mobile

How we calculate

“PC” version includes Mac/Linux for simplicity, and these are all Steam keys (including resellers) and DRM-free legit copies of the game. We take overall sales here.
On the other side our analytics tools (Unity Analytics + a 3rd party tool) track all activations via fingerprinting. We take overall amount of activations minus legit sales per platform minus 10% (to offset for people who activated a legit copy on more than 1 device).


  • Punch Club has been pirated 1.6 million times
  • 1,137,000 times is for PC / Mac / Linux
  • 514,000 times on Mobile
  • 90% of mobile piracy is Android

It’s clear the splits aren’t equal, and that most piracy happens on PC. When we dive into regional data and compare that with piracy, you get the super interesting bits. First, China doesn’t care about localization – they will pirate it anyway. Meanwhile adding Brazilian Portuguese creates this:

Adding Brazilian Portuguese made Brazil top-pirated country

We launched without Chinese or Portuguese. China (green graph) started growing on its own right after launch, they were pirating the English version with no problem.
Meanwhile as soon as we added Portuguese, Brazil (yellow) skyrockets in number of installs…. but not in number of sales. Brazil likes to pirate localized games.

Top pirated countries on PC, Portuguese Localization Launch Day

By doing some simple deductions, you can estimate the % of people on that day that actually bought Punch Club in comparison with the amount of people that pirated it.

You can see Germany having the highest bought-rate, with United States and France following. We can definitely say localization into French and German paid off. However in absolute numbers it’s nothing.


The obvious takeaway is that piracy is real and massive, but we all know this. Quick recap:

  • Punch Club appeared on torrents within hours of launch
  • For every sale on PC there are 4 pirates
  • For every Android sale there are 12 pirates
  • For every iOS sale there are 2 pirates

While it’s difficult to fight piracy — and most DRM-enforced ways are horrible for the paying customers — it’s hard to deny it has an impact. Looking back I believe what we should’ve done is enabled cross-platofrm saves on launch. This way people who pirate the PC version may have converted better into buyers on mobile or vice-versa.

You should seriously localize your games for Western Europe

The most interesting conclusion though is Localization and its impact. Punch Club clearly shows that localizing games to Western European languages pays off, and has a very low piracy rate.

About Alex Nichiporchik

Alex Nichiporchik is the CEO of tinyBuild and acts as a producer on many tinyBuild titles. Before co-founding tinyBuild, he worked as a marketing exec in web games, used to be a casual game producer, and pro-gamer.