Illegal video game downloads have risen 20 per cent over the last five years, according to figures from research firm Envisional.

As well as the increase in pirated games, Envisional's stats also show that the five top games of 2010 were illegally accessed online almost one million times.

The gaming industry is keen to highlight to users that pirating games now can damage future console games because the blockbuster titles cost "real money" to produce.

"[Some] 200, 250 people sat in a studio for two years building the latest Modern Warfare 3. This costs real money," Andy Payne, chairman of the association for UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE), told the BBC.

Swashbucklers

In January, UKIE published stats that show four games are illegally pirated for every one game that is sold, costing the UK videogame industry over £1 billion a year.

The UK government is currently looking to implement the Digital Economy Act which, it hopes, will stem illegal downloads of games as well as movies and music in the UK using warning letters and the threat of disconnection to deter pirates.

From BBC