The highly anticipated Game of Thrones Season 7 premiere has been plundered by real-world pirates. The episode has been downloaded or streamed on illegal downloading sites over 90 million times by people looking to avoid paying a premium for an HBO subscription.
Piracy monitoring firm MUSO collects data on piracy statistics from websites to come up with an estimate of how many times a file has been downloaded or viewed. Sampling over 200 million devices, MUSO came up with some astonishing figures about Game of Thrones Season 7, Episode 1.
"What we're seeing here isn't just P2P torrent downloads but unauthorized streams and every type of piracy around the premiere. This is the total audience picture, which is usually unreported."
HBO's Game of Thrones already held plenty of records for being the most pirated show on television, but the Season 7 premiere breaks the records with its astonishing figures. HBO executives said that the series premiere was watched by 16 million people, but that's not counting the exponentially higher number of illegal downloads taking place around the world.
Fifteen million people pirated Game of Thrones in the United States, and around 6 million people pirated Game of Thrones in the United Kingdom. The vast majority of the pirated copies were found on streaming websites, while a smaller number were downloaded through file-sharing torrents. Altogether, MUSO estimates that 78 million copies of Game of Thrones were viewed through streaming websites, and about 14 million downloaded through torrents and other file-sharing sites.
Game of Thrones Season 7 promises to finally resolve some of the longstanding conflicts between the show's sometimes contradictory main characters. While Jon Snow and his sister Sansa rule the north, Khaleesi Daenerys Targaryen has finally landed on the shores of Westeros with her dragons and an army intent on taking the Seven Kingdoms in her name. Cersei Lannister sits on the Iron Throne with her brother Jaime at her side, though all of their children are now dead, and Arya is coming to kill her. This season promises some epic battles with even The Hound and The Mountain back from the dead and ready to fight.
The popularity of Game of Thrones shows no sign of stopping. HBO producers are gearing up for the final season, which will be released in 2018 or 2019, and one last chance to break existing pirating records.
[Featured Image by HBO]