New Season of Game of Thrones Is Pirated to Oblivion

The premiere of Game of Thrones’ new season has set a new piracy record: over a million downloads in half a day. After people from all over the globe downloaded a copy, next morning there were more than 300,000 BitTorrent users sharing the new episode simultaneously – both on legal and less-authorized channels.


Such a demand even caused a technical trouble for the HBO Go service – it crashed and was inaccessible for a few hours. This downtime could be the reason for some to look for illegal copies. Those, of course, were widely available via dozens of torrent websites soon after the episode finished. Unlike HBO Go, downloads via BitTorrent finish faster if there is an increased interest. And there was, indeed!

Half a day after the new episode appeared on the Internet, more than a million people have already downloaded a copy via a torrent tracker. Next morning over 300,000 people were seen actively sharing it.

According to the statistics, the number of downloads is close to the same as in 2013, but it didn’t set a record for the largest BitTorrent swarm. Perhaps, this is because there were multiple copies available, with the most shared one having about 140,000 people sharing at once. As usual, the number of downloads is expected to increase: in 2013, Game of Thrones was recognized as the most pirated TV show for the 2nd time, and now it is well on its way to securing the title for one more year.

It looks like the most file-sharers origin from Australia (11.6%). It is followed by the US (9.3%) and the UK (5.8%) – all English-speaking countries, as you can see. In a week, when the episode is translated and dubbed in other countries, the numbers might change.

In the meantime, Australia with its first place is all the more impressive with its population of only 22 million people – relatively small compared to the other 2 countries. The main question, as usual, would be why people choose illegal version. And the answers are all the same: sometimes there’s no legitimate alternative, due to licensing or technical troubles like those suffered yesterday by HBO Go. Sometimes, the legal options are too limited, restrictive, or just expensive. In addition, for some people using BitTorrent has become a habit, despite having the legal alternatives.