For the third time this year, Game of Thrones Season 4 has set a new piracy record for the largest torrent swarm ever.
Torrent Freak has reported that late Sunday night 254,114 people were sharing a single copy of “The Children” at the same time. 190,701 people were sharing a complete copy of the torrent, while 63,413 were still downloading it. This beats out the previous record of 207,054 by quite a large margin, set earlier in the season by the fifth episode.
Of course, these are only numbers for a single torrent, and as seen below, there were multiple copies that garnered quite a bit of interest. Roughly 1.5 million people downloaded the episode within the first 12 hours of its availability.
Torrent Freak expects the episode will end the week at around 7.5 million download, which makes it a safe bet to be the most pirated episode of television this year.
These swarms could be used as a measure relative to the initial viewership numbers from HBO: the amount of people waiting to download and watch the episode as soon as possible.
When compared to last year, the Season 4 finale saw a 48% increase in initial downloads over the Season 3 finale’s 171,572 person swarm. And if Torrent Freak’s prediction of 7.5 million overall downloads holds true, it would mark a 27% increase in total downloads over 5.9 million from the Season 3 finale.
Put these numbers together with the previously reported 32% increase in television viewership for the Season 4 finale, and it becomes even clearer that Game of Thrones’ audience has dramatically increased over the past year, whether they come across the episodes legally, or not.