"Unbelievably High" Android Piracy Drives Dev to Free-To-Play

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"Unbelievably High" Android Piracy Drives Dev to Free-To-Play

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A 99 cent price tag still isn't enough to stop mobile pirates.

When Mad Finger Games first released their new mobile game Dead Trigger, it hoped to reach as many people as possible. What it didn't expect was to achieve that goal through piracy. Despite the game's low price point of a single dollar, piracy figures for the Android version went through the roof while official installs were practically non-existent. In a last-ditch effort to save the game, the developer switched out the paid Android version for a free-to-play model that has since shown tremendous success, bringing to light some of the difficulties in publishing for the mobile platform.

"Regarding price drop," Mad Finger Games announced via Facebook. "The main reason: piracy rate on Android devices, that was unbelievably high. At first we intend to make this game available for as many people as possible - that's why it was for as little as buck ... However, even for one buck, the piracy rate is soooo giant, that we finally decided to provide Dead Trigger for free."

This isn't the first time the Android platform has been recognized for its piracy problems. Even outside of the occasional console emulator, official apps can see anywhere from 5 to 9 illegal downloads per legitimate purchase. The open-source nature of Android seems to make piracy harder to combat compared to other operating systems, as noted by the fact that Dead Trigger's iOS version still requires a 99 cent purchase.

Sources: Facebook, Eurogamer

Permalink

Don't you just love it when the times change and business is forced to innovate?

ZippyDSMlee:
Don't you just love it when the times change and business is forced to innovate?

No, because fuck those lazy, cheap-ass pirates who feel that ONE FUCKING DOLLAR is too much to pay for a game.

Look I'm all in favor of a practicle real world response to pirating, but I still think people should be able to charge money for their games.

Buretsu:

ZippyDSMlee:
Don't you just love it when the times change and business is forced to innovate?

No, because fuck those lazy, cheap-ass pirates who feel that ONE FUCKING DOLLAR is too much to pay for a game.

Usually means the game wasn't worth buying for the price they were asking, if your game is one dollar, that's saying a lot.

I was going to make a more articulate response but my captcha summed it up for me: sorry sight.

Buretsu:

ZippyDSMlee:
Don't you just love it when the times change and business is forced to innovate?

No, because fuck those lazy, cheap-ass pirates who feel that ONE FUCKING DOLLAR is too much to pay for a game.

I was going to retort with the FTP business model, using Microsoft Flight, Tribes: Ascend, and Zenonia 4 as references, and then I realized that there is no profit for the developer to be had in this case, as far as I know.

This game apparently didn't have the "hook" that Minecraft had that turned pirates into customers.

Looking at these posts, there are apparently some people who will use any excuse to pirate stuff. Quite frankly, when the price is a dollar, and you donīt feel that you can support the devs, you disgust me.
Itīs pathetic.

Captcha: good riddance
Not sure I agree there Capt!

Sooooo, the piracy rate is no worse than regular ole' PC game piracy.

Elate:

Buretsu:

ZippyDSMlee:
Don't you just love it when the times change and business is forced to innovate?

No, because fuck those lazy, cheap-ass pirates who feel that ONE FUCKING DOLLAR is too much to pay for a game.

Usually means the game wasn't worth buying for the price they were asking, if your game is one dollar, that's saying a lot.

More like fuq those lazy, cheap-ass businesses who feel that ONE FUCKING DOLLAR is too little to pay for a game.

Change with the market not against it.

Well, I have a Android and honestly, if a Game isn't free and I really wanted it, I would pretty much have to pirate it to get it in the first place considering that, atleast here, Google only accepts Credit Cards and those aren't big here.

Gah. My problem with this, is that I don't like playing "freemium" games. But if it's the only viable mechanic, then where am I?

$1 - 60p I earn that in about 7.5 mins - that seems trival

Looking at it another way I have $90 apox 'free money' a month so I earn about $0.56 an hour....

So that's less then 2 hours still...

And I'm pretty low down the money chain so that's still acceptable - if I'm going to get more entertainment then 2 hours from it....which I should

Elate:

Buretsu:

ZippyDSMlee:
Don't you just love it when the times change and business is forced to innovate?

No, because fuck those lazy, cheap-ass pirates who feel that ONE FUCKING DOLLAR is too much to pay for a game.

Usually means the game wasn't worth buying for the price they were asking, if your game is one dollar, that's saying a lot.

Even a s***** game can give you more value than, say, a candy bar from a gas station convenience store. Are you saying that it's alright to steal candy bars (or anything else) if you feel they're overcharging for it?

Yeah. I can see an argument for piracy against companies selling $60 games with expensive DLC and restrictive DRM. But a small dev selling a game for $1? REALLY? There's no excuse. There is no legitimate argument here to be had for piracy.

I don't have any experience with buying games for Android but I wager it's more complicated and annoying than just downloading them illegally. Otherwise the piracy rates wouldn't be so damn high.

I decided to give this game a try just because of this. It's definitely fun and better then 95% of the trash on the iphone game app store and worth the dollar.

Shadowsetzer:

Even a s***** game can give you more value than, say, a candy bar from a gas station convenience store. Are you saying that it's alright to steal candy bars (or anything else) if you feel they're overcharging for it?

Don't make me pull the "Pirating is copying, not stealing card." and I don't know about you but I get great satisfaction from candy bars.

Elate:

Shadowsetzer:

Even a s***** game can give you more value than, say, a candy bar from a gas station convenience store. Are you saying that it's alright to steal candy bars (or anything else) if you feel they're overcharging for it?

Don't make me pull the "Pirating is copying, not stealing card." and I don't know about you but I get great satisfaction from candy bars.

At $1, if it's worth playing it's worth buying.

'Course that doesn't matter anymore, since apparently enough people thought they were entitled to free entertainment from the developer that they were forced to change their business model.

Elate:

Shadowsetzer:

Even a s***** game can give you more value than, say, a candy bar from a gas station convenience store. Are you saying that it's alright to steal candy bars (or anything else) if you feel they're overcharging for it?

Don't make me pull the "Pirating is copying, not stealing card." and I don't know about you but I get great satisfaction from candy bars.

Except that when you buy a game (or any piece of software), you're not simply buying a copy of the program; you're buying the right to use that program. When someone makes a copy of it and uses it without buying it, they're stealing it in the same way that someone who takes something off of a store shelf and walks off with it is stealing it - they're using it when they don't have the right to.

For once, a developer blaming piracy is actually right, rather than reaching for excuses. I've owned a couple of Android devices and when I upgrade/change my phone, I always simply move the .apk and data files over to the new model via USB. The problem is, this can be done for any phone, any time, whether you're using the same Google Play account or not. Go to any of the dozens of Android-centric sites, any warez or torrent site, and you can download a game, pop it on your phone, install it and play, simple as that. There's no need to route/jailbreak the devices and it's virtually risk free, and piracy is rampant as a result.

It casts new light on the "DRM doesn't work" argument, really. Don't get me wrong, I oppose intrusive and restrictive DRM as much as the next guy, but saying it doesn't work at all is demonstrably wrong. You only need look at the sales figures for the Play Store vs the App Store. There are a lot more Android devices in the hands of consumers than there are iPhones, and yet the App Store outsells the Play Store handily. Why? Well, because it's more difficult to pirate things on the iPhone. Sure, to anyone with an ounce of tech knowledge, it's no big deal to jailbreak and pirate away, but a lot of people would choose to pay when face with having to go through the jailbreaking process. For Android, though, pirating is almost as easy as actually buying something.

Of course, this doesn't excuse monstrosities like SecuRom and Diablo III, but it does explain why publishers keep doing that shit. Making it just a little bit harder for the average joe to rip you off really does pay off. A damn shame the people actually buying the game have to suffer for it.

SmashLovesTitanQuest:
I don't have any experience with buying games for Android but I wager it's more complicated and annoying than just downloading them illegally. Otherwise the piracy rates wouldn't be so damn high.

You have to press 2 buttons, its far less work than stealing it. It takes longer to buy something on steam .

Elate:

Shadowsetzer:

Even a s***** game can give you more value than, say, a candy bar from a gas station convenience store. Are you saying that it's alright to steal candy bars (or anything else) if you feel they're overcharging for it?

Don't make me pull the "Pirating is copying, not stealing card." and I don't know about you but I get great satisfaction from candy bars.

Taking advantage of some one else labor, with out paying for it isn't stealing?

That's right, justify away, it makes crime so much easier if you believe you're not doing anything wrong.

Someone mentioned this in the Facebook comments, and they were right: we used to have a thing called shareware, and it was wonderful. Then Shareware went away, along with demos and the concept of "try before you buy" in general. What we see here is a company learning the hard way that the demand for the shareware model never went away. Besides, shareware is alive and well on the google play store, where nearly everything has a demo of some sort.

By the way, $1 for an app isn't much. $1 for an app, sight unseen, when nearly everything else on the store has some sort of free demo? That's ridiculous. I know I wouldn't pay for anything like that, it comes across as a developer trying to make a quick buck off of a product he knows people won't buy if they get a chance to try it first.

I'm not going to defend pirates here. If you can't spend $1, then maybe you shouldn't play the game.

But I will say that if piracy is this prevalent on Android, perhaps Google should look into making spending money more convenient, like Steam does. (Assuming that Android's interface is bad, which it may not be.)

And a demo does help.

Pirating a $1 game is shameful. It costs more to run a load of clothes in a laundromat washer. There's no excuse.

The only justification that comes close to making an android pirate not look like a complete scumbag is if the purchase process is ridiculously complicated, which it could be, but I don't know because I don't have one.

Still, just buy the goddamn game, or people will stop making them eventually.

Jerks.

meh. either unionise app-game developers like how newpaper cartoonist used to do it before webcomics spoiled their fun, or go "donation-ware". the intrawebs is a sucker for sympathy... just ask the blog babes/beggars.

Owyn_Merrilin:
By the way, $1 for an app isn't much. $1 for an app, sight unseen, when nearly everything else on the store has some sort of free demo? That's ridiculous. I know I wouldn't pay for anything like that, it comes across as a developer trying to make a quick buck off of a product he knows people won't buy if they get a chance to try it first.

Let me put it this way: Have you ever bought a candy/drink/snack that you've never tried before? If yes, then I completely fail to see the problem with spending the same amount or even less on an App you might not know if you like

Buretsu:

Owyn_Merrilin:
By the way, $1 for an app isn't much. $1 for an app, sight unseen, when nearly everything else on the store has some sort of free demo? That's ridiculous. I know I wouldn't pay for anything like that, it comes across as a developer trying to make a quick buck off of a product he knows people won't buy if they get a chance to try it first.

Let me put it this way: Have you ever bought a candy/drink/snack that you've never tried before? If yes, then I completely fail to see the problem with spending the same amount or even less on an App you might not know if you like

And let me put it this way: all the other apps on the store have a demo, if not a completely free or ad supported version. If that one doesn't, I'm avoiding it like the plague.

Owyn_Merrilin:

Buretsu:

Owyn_Merrilin:
By the way, $1 for an app isn't much. $1 for an app, sight unseen, when nearly everything else on the store has some sort of free demo? That's ridiculous. I know I wouldn't pay for anything like that, it comes across as a developer trying to make a quick buck off of a product he knows people won't buy if they get a chance to try it first.

Let me put it this way: Have you ever bought a candy/drink/snack that you've never tried before? If yes, then I completely fail to see the problem with spending the same amount or even less on an App you might not know if you like

And let me put it this way: all the other apps on the store have a demo, if not a completely free or ad supported version. If that one doesn't, I'm avoiding it like the plague.

You know what you do? Don't download it.
You know what you DON'T do? You don't pirate it!

Buretsu:

Owyn_Merrilin:

Buretsu:

Let me put it this way: Have you ever bought a candy/drink/snack that you've never tried before? If yes, then I completely fail to see the problem with spending the same amount or even less on an App you might not know if you like

And let me put it this way: all the other apps on the store have a demo, if not a completely free or ad supported version. If that one doesn't, I'm avoiding it like the plague.

You know what you do? Don't download it.
You know what you DON'T do? You don't pirate it!

I don't. There's too much awesome free stuff on the google play store for me to bother. But you know what? I have no sympathy for the dev. They made a bad choice by not offering a demo in the first place, and they made a good one by correctly reading the market signs and making a freakin' demo. If only the massive publishers were that good at economics 101...

Owyn_Merrilin:

Buretsu:

Owyn_Merrilin:
By the way, $1 for an app isn't much. $1 for an app, sight unseen, when nearly everything else on the store has some sort of free demo? That's ridiculous. I know I wouldn't pay for anything like that, it comes across as a developer trying to make a quick buck off of a product he knows people won't buy if they get a chance to try it first.

Let me put it this way: Have you ever bought a candy/drink/snack that you've never tried before? If yes, then I completely fail to see the problem with spending the same amount or even less on an App you might not know if you like

And let me put it this way: all the other apps on the store have a demo, if not a completely free or ad supported version. If that one doesn't, I'm avoiding it like the plague.

And that's fine, you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who'd be mad at you for avoiding it for that reason(save for perhaps a few too-obsessive fanboys/fangirls).

It's when people use that as an excuse to say "fuck you" to the developer and download it without paying for it that people are going to (rightfully) call them pricks.

J. Mazarin:

Owyn_Merrilin:

Buretsu:

Let me put it this way: Have you ever bought a candy/drink/snack that you've never tried before? If yes, then I completely fail to see the problem with spending the same amount or even less on an App you might not know if you like

And let me put it this way: all the other apps on the store have a demo, if not a completely free or ad supported version. If that one doesn't, I'm avoiding it like the plague.

And that's fine, you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who'd be mad at you for avoiding it for that reason(save for perhaps a few too-obsessive fanboys/fangirls).

It's when people use that as an excuse to say "fuck you" to the developer and download it without paying for it that people are going to (rightfully) call them pricks.

The way I see it, there's two ways to deal with piracy: complain about it, create DRM, and fight it in the courts, all the while making no money off the pirates -- who, while not customers under your current business model, are a potential source of revenue -- or try to out-compete it with things like demos and ad supported versions of your product. This dev learned the hard way that the first method doesn't work, and is now trying the other way.

There are reviews and pictures of the game on every purchase place. There is no need for a demo all the time. People wanting demos are freeloaders wanting free shit. I'm sorry but developer work really hard on their games. Giving it out free is a slap in the face.

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