In a move that should surprise absolutely nobody, HBO has officially announced that the hit fantasy series Game of Thrones will be back for a 4th season. Congratulations, this means that you can keep torrenting the latest from the realm well into 2014.
"#GameofThrones is renewed for a fourth season. RT & share this update with your friends across the realm," tweeted HBO's official Game of Thrones Twitter account this afternoon.
Before today, there was technically a doubt as to whether or not HBO would pick up the show for another season. Technically. The show has been a huge success for HBO, and is one of the network's most-watched shows (along with True Blood).
— Game Of Thrones(@GameOfThrones) April 2, 2013
4.4 million viewers tuned in for Sunday night's season 3 opener, which is a couple hundred thousand more than tuned in for the season 2 finale - and even more than watched the season 2 opener.
But that 4.4 million number isn't really representative of everyone who has watched the Game of Thrones premiere in the past few days.
Today we learned that the season 3 premiere broke BitTorrent records. In just a few hours after the first torrent of the show was uploaded, 163,088 people were sharing the single torrent - 110,303 actively sharing and 52,786 still downloading. That broke the previous record of 144,663 peers on a single torrent set after a Heroes season premiere. TorrentFreak estimated that over 1 million people had already downloaded the season 3 premiere. So your 4.4 million is looking more like 5.5 million and maybe even more who have actually watched the show since Sunday.
With numbers like this, Game of Thrones is well on its way to reclaiming the distinction of the most pirated show around - an honor the show took in 2012.
And some at HBO couldn't really care less. HBO programming head Michael Lombardo recently said that Game of Thrones piracy is really more a compliment than a threat, and that it surely didn't hurt DVD sales. He made a point to say that HBO still doesn't support piracy of its content (obviously), but that they "haven’t sent out the Game of Thrones police."