Note: The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of WRAL Tech Wire and business editor of WRAL.com.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – “Gears of War 3” has delivered millions of copies in sales for Cary-based Epic Games, but pirates have slashed a considerable amount of profits away by downloading illegal copies through BitTorrent file sharing sites.

In fact, according to a site that tracks file sharing pirating, Gears earned the dubious title as most pirated Xbox 360 game in 2011 with 890,000 downloads, according to the website Torrent Freak.

The game hit store shelves with mostly positive reviews, and as of early December had sole more than 4.75 million copies, an Epic spokesperson told WRAL Tech Wire. Gears is expected by some web game sites to sell as many as 7 million copies.

However, the pirating has certainly taken a toll.

Thieves were so impressed with Gears that they stole more of man-vs.-locust hordes than the exceptionally popular “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3” and “Battlefield 3.” The latter two went on sale in November and October respectively.

Infinity Blade II a Big Hit on Apple Devices

Epic disclosed better news on Thursday, saying that its Infinity Blade II title has produced “in excess of $5 million” in revenue since its launch on Dec. 1.

The downloaded game for Apple mobile devices sells for $6.99.

Blade II and its predecessor, which was released in 2010, has produced more than $30 million for Epic and its ChAIR Entertainment development studio.

Infinity Blade II did encounter some technical problems in the early days of the launch, but Epic said the number of users affected was limited. The game received a host of sterling reviews. Several sites declared it the mobile game of the year.

“The success of the Infinity Blade franchise is testament to our talented team who is devoted to making games we want to play, all while using Unreal Engine technology to redefine what is expected from games on iOS devices,” Epic Games President Dr. Michael Capps said in a statement. “We have so much more in store for players, and will continue to make great content for Apple’s evolving platforms.”

Now if they could just do something about those pirates …

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