Linked by henderson101 on Tue 24th Jul 2012 23:42 UTC
Google "I read earlier this week about a developer who made their Android version free after the $1 game was extensively pirated. Stories like this come as no surprise, but the industry press rarely deals with the core problem - and nor does Google. [...] Whilst the aforementioned story about the Android game didn't surprise me, it did horrify me. Android is designed to be difficult to make money from, and the core issue is that it's open - with the corrosive mentality that surrounds such openness."
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No lost sales
by pucko on Wed 25th Jul 2012 00:17 UTC
pucko
Member since:
2006-07-17

The matter of piracy is simple but yet (primarily) publishers are not understanding it.

I dare to say that a pirated copy is not a "lost sale", because it was not a sale from the beginning. The person would not have bought it anyway if it was impossible to duplicate it.


Now, there is a small group of people which are the exception. They would most likely buy the product if they could, but do unfortunately not have access to a credit card.
And as far as I know, there is no gift card or other means of payment for Google Play besides credit cards. And if Paid Apps is even available in that country.

This last group is where your lost sales are.
And in this case, it is up to the publisher, or even the developer to find solutions where the buyers can pay for the copy.


Speaking for myself I do not pirate any applications because: 1) I have a credit card, 2) I have access to Paid Apps on Google Play.

Reply Score: 3

RE: No lost sales
by Declination5 on Wed 25th Jul 2012 00:25 UTC in reply to "No lost sales"
Declination5 Member since:
2012-06-08

While the matter of a pirated copy not equating to a lost sale it is not exclusive either. When there is a culture of piracy surrounding a product people that would otherwise pay for apps see easy piracy and think to themselves a number of thoughts. They think things like, "Why should I pay when no-one else does?" So while initially piracy doesn't equate to lost sales once a mainstream culture of piracy is built around an ecosystem it most definitely does start hurting sales numbers.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: No lost sales
by _txf_ on Wed 25th Jul 2012 00:35 UTC in reply to "RE: No lost sales"
_txf_ Member since:
2008-03-17

While the matter of a pirated copy not equating to a lost sale it is not exclusive either. When there is a culture of piracy surrounding a product people that would otherwise pay for apps see easy piracy and think to themselves a number of thoughts. They think things like, "Why should I pay when no-one else does?" So while initially piracy doesn't equate to lost sales once a mainstream culture of piracy is built around an ecosystem it most definitely does start hurting sales numbers.


But oddly enough I have a strange anecdote:

I know plenty of people that have android phones, and they buy stuff from Google play, yet at the same time they do pirate other software etc.

And oddly enough the people that I know that have Iphones, are the ones engaging in the most mobile app piracy.

The point I guess I'm trying to ask is, where is the massive Android piracy culture? I'm just not seeing it.

Has anybody tried to quantify it?

Edited 2012-07-25 00:37 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: No lost sales
by pucko on Wed 25th Jul 2012 00:53 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: No lost sales"
pucko Member since:
2006-07-17

My guess is that the largest "pirate markets" are the countries which do not have "Paid Apps" available to them.

I could be wrong but since games are very popular with the younger audience, I guess pirating is the only option as credit cards are not available to you until you are 18+.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: No lost sales
by ze_jerkface on Wed 25th Jul 2012 09:59 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: No lost sales"
ze_jerkface Member since:
2012-06-22

Android piracy is a real problem
http://gamepolitics.com/2011/10/11/piracy-rate-facefighter-android-...

As with pc gaming it has become the norm. Most people playing the games aren't paying for them.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: No lost sales
by Chrispynutt on Wed 25th Jul 2012 11:54 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: No lost sales"
Chrispynutt Member since:
2012-03-14

Weird I don't know a single PC gamer that pirates now, because of steam.

Even the guy back in the Amiga days was the go to guy to get pirated games.

Then again we all have wages now.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: No lost sales
by ze_jerkface on Thu 26th Jul 2012 03:36 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: No lost sales"
ze_jerkface Member since:
2012-06-22

Weird I don't know a single PC gamer that pirates now, because of steam.


Hmmmmmmm, that's nice.
http://torrentfreak.com/top-10-most-pirated-games-of-2011-111230/

Keep in mind that the pc version of Crysis 2 sold the worst.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: No lost sales
by bassbeast on Thu 26th Jul 2012 16:55 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: No lost sales"
bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

Now lets look at that list, shall we?

1.- Crysis 2...frankly I know plenty of guys who pirated it just to run scripts for benchmarking, the Crytek games have always been popular with the "must win teh benches!" crowd who'll spend 10K on a system and put a pirated copy of Windows on it, so no surprise there.

2. & 3.- Call Of Duty, Battlefield 3...The people that I know that have pirated those want to try the SP to see if they suck before shelling out for MP, which lets face it is all anybody does with those games. Since you have to have a legit key to play MP there are still making money hand over fist and I'm sure the other players prefer not having the servers filled with noobs.

4. FIFA...Well considering the prices that the game corps charge other countries this one should come as no surprise, you'd think they'd realize they can't charge as much or more than they do in the USA for a game that's primarily popular in places OTHER than the USA. BTW do they still screw AU and NZ when it comes to games? If so I don't blame 'em for pirating this one, as with the exchange rate they get royally hosed.

5. Portal 2...Frankly this was the only surprising one on the list, but as someone who bought both Portal 1 & 2 I can see why. Portal is one of those games where either you are good at it and its fun or you BLOW CHUNKS and its not. I found out about midway in that I fall into the later category, but thanks to the steam sale I just don't care if I never beat it.

In the end I'd like to see the figures from the last Steam sale before i weep for the developers. Considering i blew a good $200+ and my kids blew a good $150 hitting the sale I really don't think the devs that were smart and took advantage to offer their goods on the sale are gonna be hurting, more likely backing up the money truck.


But as someone who used to pirate the living hell out of games frankly i can't even remember the last time i downloaded a hacked game thanks to Steam. its just so cheap and easy i never bother, I mean why should I? There is over a thousand titles on any given day for less than $10.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: No lost sales
by Fergy on Wed 25th Jul 2012 18:03 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: No lost sales"
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

Android piracy is a real problem
http://gamepolitics.com/2011/10/11/piracy-rate-facefighter-android-...

As with pc gaming it has become the norm. Most people playing the games aren't paying for them.

If piracy is as bad on android as on pc they have nothing to worry about. I stopped buying games when I felt I was being taken advantage of. 60 euro, forcing me to have the dvd in the player, just bad games that are barely worth 5 euros. Now with steam where I barely have to do anything to get a good game at 5-20 euro that is automatically installed and kept up2date. I don't even bother anymore to pirate. It is not worth my hassle.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: No lost sales
by dsmogor on Wed 25th Jul 2012 07:23 UTC in reply to "RE: No lost sales"
dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

I agree and think Google seriously dropped the ball here by making Play credit card only.* This opened the flood gates for making installing pirated apps a habit that will be really hard to change. Generally such (potential) customers are lost for good, one can only hope for acquiring new ones. They should also start building partnership network (e.g. integrating carrier payment, mPesa in Africa, offering their own prepaid accounts, etc).
Apple can put up with such restrictions bc Apple simply doesn't care about markets where its impractical. Google on the other hand are in for world domination from the start.

Making sideloading a little bit harder wouldn't harm as well. If only signed apps could be loaded, (given free service to obtain signatures), google could at least regain some control on illegal software. (Pirated versions could be shut down with simple key revocation).

Besides, I don't agree there's much to Open source nature here. Exploiting it to make piracy easier requires rom flashing, a thing that's far from trivial on most embedded devices (harder and more risky that e.g. jailbreaking). I don't believe it could be a major contributor to piracy.

* Well, they are not alone being clueless in world wide distribution (pretty much most non deeply international companies are unless they develop local resellers network). Esp. that Android rapid uptake worldwide must have taken them aback.

Edited 2012-07-25 07:25 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: No lost sales
by sukru on Wed 25th Jul 2012 01:00 UTC in reply to "No lost sales"
sukru Member since:
2006-11-19

The lost sales due to piracy issue is neither black, nor white, but actually a gray tone in between.

There were actually some experiments with the ratios. For example, stardock realized there were 10 times more people on their servers than actual sales for an online game of theirs. There was also a shareware/donationware study, where people were much less likely to pay, unless pressured to.

Anyways, it is pretty much settled for the music industry with 0.99c tracks (or less). I hope it also gets resolved for the game and movie industries.

Reply Score: 3

RE: No lost sales
by PlunderBunny on Wed 25th Jul 2012 01:23 UTC in reply to "No lost sales"
PlunderBunny Member since:
2009-02-19

I've always thought that the no-lost-sales-to-piracy argument was pretty weak. If people have a limited amount of spare time, and they fill that time by playing a pirated copy of Unhappy Avians, they might still be able to argue that they wouldn't have bought Unhappy Avians, but what would they have done with that time if they didn't? Would they not have played games at all? Perhaps they might have played only free-to-play games, but the fact is, they didn't!
"I wouldn't have paid for it anyway" is really just a way of saying:
1. I didn't pay for it because I could get away with not paying for it.
2. I'd like to push the moral implications of my decision into a fantasy land that doesn't exist.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: No lost sales
by Soulbender on Wed 25th Jul 2012 07:13 UTC in reply to "RE: No lost sales"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

I've always thought that the no-lost-sales-to-piracy argument was pretty weak.


As an excuse you could argue that it is weak, that is true.
Where this does come into play though is when you try to estimate how many sales are actually lost to piracy and how much money piracy is costing. By counting every pirated application as a lost sale you are in fact inflating the numbers. It can make it look like you lost a load of money while in fact you might only had seen a modest increase in sales if there was no piracy.
It is of course rather tricky to know exactly how many of the pirate apps that would have been a sale but the fact that it's tricky is no excuse for inflating the numbers.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: No lost sales
by ze_jerkface on Wed 25th Jul 2012 10:19 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: No lost sales"
ze_jerkface Member since:
2012-06-22

Who is actually counting every pirated copy as a lost sale?

I see developers complaining about high piracy rates and for good reason.

Would all those Android pirates have paid for every game? No but they would have paid for some of them unless you want to tell me that they can afford a smartphone and data plan but not $1 games? You really think they would quit gaming? Of course they would not buy every game they pirated but they would buy some of them. Multiply that by a million pirates and you can see the amount of damage it does to Android when compared to the iPhone.

The problem with pirates is that they aren't contributing to anyone. They don't think it is a big deal on an individual level but as a group they are large enough to distort the market. A healthy market has enough paying customers to sustain development while Android has millions of cheapskates who can't cough up a freaking dollar.

Edited 2012-07-25 10:21 UTC

Reply Score: 3

runjorel
Member since:
2009-02-09

I think sub-par app quality (at least when compared to corresponding iOS versions) are the reason Android developers aren't making money. I know it's hard because the market is fragmented and a whole bunch of other reasons (economic and technical). I also know things are improving but it's still frustrating to see a difference in quality or performance when comparing an iOS app and an Android App from the same publisher. I think this is the reason the Android Market is not doing so well. Not because of 'openness'

If that's the argument then the many pirated copies of Windows, Office, and Adobe Photoshop prove that the 'closed' model does not work.

Reply Score: 3

sergio Member since:
2005-07-06

I think sub-par app quality (at least when compared to corresponding iOS versions) are the reason Android developers aren't making money.


I think It's just the opposite. There's no high quality apps because developers can't monetize them easily on Android.

I mean, Android is less profitable than iOS, so developers have fewer incentives to do great apps.

Reply Score: 6

JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

There's no high quality apps because developers can't monetize them easily on Android.

And you assume it's easier to do that on iOS? It's no longer 2009, you know. Monetization is not easy on both platforms.

Reply Score: 3

grahamtriggs Member since:
2009-05-27

Fragmentation is a big issue. You are always left wondering with Android apps - will it run on my hardware? Will it run on my version of Android?

You do get the odd iOS incompatibility with Apple, but generally, it's much simpler - a small number of hardware configurations, and the apps can state which ones they work on.

I'm not advocating entirely losing the fragmentation - when it comes to buying the handset, having multiple manufacturers, each doing slightly different things (larger batteries, larger screens, smaller handsets, etc.) is a real strength in being able to buy a phone that suits you.

But there needs to be some broader "profiles" defined that handsets can be classified into, so that we can easily see what should work.

And it probably should be the norm that every app has a 'demo' install, where you can see it before you buy. I know that many have free and paid versions - but these are separate entries in the store, which make it harder to navigate, and don't lead you to purchase them. Get rid of that and unify 'demo' and 'buy' under a single entry, and make it easy to convert a demo into a purchase.

Reply Score: 4

JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Fragmentation is a big issue.

It's not a "big" issue. It's an issue, but not a big one. It's bigger than on iOS, but still nothing to go crazy about.

Reply Score: 3

ze_jerkface Member since:
2012-06-22

If that's the argument then the many pirated copies of Windows, Office, and Adobe Photoshop prove that the 'closed' model does not work.


No that isn't the argument at all.

Windows, Office and Photoshop are not sold on a closed platform but more importantly have plenty of legit customers to fund development.

Android is overwhelmed with cheapskates who pirate $1 games
http://gamepolitics.com/2011/10/11/piracy-rate-facefighter-android-...

Open gaming platforms make piracy easier. That's just a fact of life. The PS3 would have been rife with piracy from day one if the games were naked ISOs loaded on a standard cpu. I'm sorry if nerds have such a hard time with this reality.

Reply Score: 2

Ehh?
by Valhalla on Wed 25th Jul 2012 01:40 UTC
Valhalla
Member since:
2006-01-24

So in other words, Windows, OSX, Linux are all 'designed for piracy' because they allow the end user to run whatever he/she wants.

And then we have bullshit statements like closed is better for business, If you want a platform to be commercially viable for third-party software developers, you have to lock it down, because software wasn't making any money until Apple came along with it's walled garden?

This whole blog post is nothing but an attack on open, sprinkled with his hatred for 'nerds' / 'geeks'. And obviously given that he is entirely Apple oriented he will also attack Android because it doesn't restrict people from running whatever they want.

As for piracy, it's always been there and always will, it exists on EVERY platform, even consoles/handhelds. If you make good apps you will sell, if you make the fifthythousandandfirst weather app then chances are small that you will make a profit, piracy or no piracy.

The saturation on these 'app stores' means you need to stand out and actually offer something better than the competition, it's quickly becoming a reality that just throwing a glossy interface over yet another alarm clock application won't cut it anymore. But of course it's always a welcome excuse to attribute your failures to piracy.

http://arstechnica.com/apple/2012/05/ios-app-success-is-a-lottery-a...

It's like the gold-rush of yore, with huge success-stories constantly being repeated despite being by far the exceptions.

Still, if IOS is so great then wy is Matt Gemmel complaining? He already operates in what he thinks is the perfect environment, why does he feel the need to attack Android/openess, it shouldn't affect him one little bit?

No one is forced to publish anything on Android, so why do they? According to Matt Gemmel it's certainly not to make money, because that only happens on locked down systems like Apple's.

Reply Score: 25

RE: Ehh?
by Athlander on Wed 25th Jul 2012 04:27 UTC in reply to "Ehh?"
Athlander Member since:
2008-03-10


Still, if IOS is so great then wy is Matt Gemmel complaining? He already operates in what he thinks is the perfect environment, why does he feel the need to attack Android/openess, it shouldn't affect him one little bit?


I think I know what his problem is with "open" - he was a naïve advocate of open source who has turned against it for some reason, probably a result of a traumatic incident. In his near-hysterical diatribe against anything "open" he comes across like one of those men who hate and despise women because a girlfriend cheated on him and broke his heart. So he seizes upon any negative news story to say "I told you so!" and reaffirm his hatred.

If Apple pulls one of his apps from the App Store, thereby being bad for his business, the poor guy will probably kill himself.

Edited 2012-07-25 04:29 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Ehh?
by Valhalla on Wed 25th Jul 2012 04:54 UTC in reply to "RE: Ehh?"
Valhalla Member since:
2006-01-24


I think I know what his problem is with "open" - he was a naïve advocate of open source who has turned against it for some reason, probably a result of a traumatic incident.

I don't know, looking at his website to see what he's doing he is actually selling development services for IOS and OSX, so obviously any developer turning to Android is a potential lost sale for him.

As such his whole diatribe against Android's openess seems to be nothing but an attempt to persuade developers to remain on Apple platforms where he can sell them useability, interaction and accessability development reviews as per his website.

Reply Score: 4

Closed is better for business.
by JAlexoid on Wed 25th Jul 2012 01:40 UTC
JAlexoid
Member since:
2009-05-19

Closed is better for business.

That is an oversimplified statement. Because closed is not necessarily better or worse.
Closed is when iPhone was released for the first time - no native apps. How was that for business?
Now, as much as I might dislike Windows, it's more open than both OSX and Linux. Not in a political/cultural/philosophical way, but in a practical way Windows is a much more open(welcoming, to be more precise) than any other platform. And so far, all I can see is that Windows is winning.

Thus, a closed platform is not unanimously better for business.

You have bills to pay. Life is serious. Pick a platform that knows it.

Implication is that Android does not know that? That is kind of inconsistent with the whole text there.(Also very big misunderstanding of what Android and iOS were designed for) It's simple, you want to make money you make sure your business model is sound. That means having to deal with Apple's approval process, Linux's GPL status, Android's piracy issue and Microsoft's shifting strategies.
If you take one model and apply it to another market - you will fail.
There is always an answer to a question - How do I make a profitable business out of it? Probably, even giving away cash on the corner can be turned into a money making enterprise!

Edited 2012-07-25 01:43 UTC

Reply Score: 7

I live in a different world
by th3rmite on Wed 25th Jul 2012 02:31 UTC
th3rmite
Member since:
2006-01-08

I personally have seen MANY people choose to pirate something despite the fact that they could afford it. To many people they can't see the victim, and they don't suffer a consequence. I can't speak for other cultures, but in America we have a HUGE entitlement mentality where people think they are entitled to everything for free. Just go down to the welfare office and count the iphones and android phones. Too poor to afford food, but rich enough to afford a fancy phone. The people pirating this app have enough money to afford a smart phone, but not enough money to pay the $1 it costs. It's only because they don't have to pay and nobody is going to make them.

Reply Score: 6

RE: I live in a different world
by ze_jerkface on Wed 25th Jul 2012 10:11 UTC in reply to "I live in a different world"
ze_jerkface Member since:
2012-06-22

Hanging out with pc gamers is what changed my mind on piracy. I saw way too many who would drop $15 on take-out without thinking but when it came to games would only pay for their MMO subscription.

Then you have the "I'm elite because I read a how-to" attitude where these guys actually think they are special for knowing how to pirate.

Reply Score: 3

RE: I live in a different world
by kenji on Wed 25th Jul 2012 18:04 UTC in reply to "I live in a different world"
kenji Member since:
2009-04-08

When given the option of paying or not paying, most will choose to not pay, especially when the moral argument is weak. I say that because the low cost of most applications (say $1 to $5) and it is hard to argue that pirating that cheap application has a real impact on the developer (starving their children, etc). Flawed logic as it is, this is how the modern person thinks, unfortunately.

Morality is not a collective, it is individual. A pirate only thinks of their actions (if at all), not the cumulative effect of multiple pirates.

Reply Score: 3

Well...
by galvanash on Wed 25th Jul 2012 05:03 UTC
galvanash
Member since:
2006-01-25

The core issue is not that Android is open, its that Android users (many at least) bought their device because it is open - its simply a different user demographic with different expectations.

Android "nerds" know that, if push comes to shove, they can happily ignore the existence of anything resembling an "App Store". They know they can root their device and do whatever they want to with it. They know they can, if they want to, write a little app and load it up without paying Google $99 a year. They buy Androids because they don't feel like paying $200 for a device that is, in essence, a glorified vending machine, i.e. "Please deposit 99 cents to play another stupid game you will spend 5 minutes on and never look at again".

I'm not saying there is anything at all wrong with preferring the Apple walled-garden approach - many people do. Really, there are tangible advantages to it - Im not trying to write a hit piece on Apple. But it isn't everyones cup of tea.

Sure, if you are out to make easy money selling mobile software apps Apple is your ticket. But attempting to repeat the same feat on Android, and then blaming your lack of success on it being open is just missing the forest through the trees. Apple isn't better for you because it's a closed/curated platform, it's better for you because it attracts a demographic that wants a closed/curated platform (and are willing to insert quarters on a regular basis to keep it that way). Android users are simply not into that.

My point is that if Android were a walled-garden it wouldn't be on as many devices and it wouldn't have such a huge userbase. And the only reason this guy wrote this piece is because of that huge userbase - if Android was'nt so popular he wouldn't give a damn. It reminds me of that scene in Avatar... He's sitting there thinking to himself "look at all that cheddar!" and he is frustrated because the natives don't want to deal with him... Poor guy, boo hoo ;)

You can make money with Android apps, but its a lot tougher and it takes really good apps that users really want and need. The bar is simply a lot higher. We like it that way, thank you very much.

And one other thing... The whole premise that it is easier to pirate on Android is absolute bullsh*t. Sure, rooting and sideloading is not exactly rocket science, but it takes a small degree of knowledge and a bit of patience. On the other hand, a monkey could jailbreak an iphone and install crackoulus... And you get an online, searchable, constantly updated source of pirated apps that is arguably _easier_ to use than the real App store... If anything piracy on iOS is far simpler than Android. Did being a "closed system" help to stop that? Obviously not.

It's the userbase stupid.

Edited 2012-07-25 05:08 UTC

Reply Score: 10

Comment
by pandronic on Wed 25th Jul 2012 05:08 UTC
pandronic
Member since:
2006-05-18

To me, piracy was always about price. I never pay for music, because I think that it's unreasonable priced. I can't pay tens of thousands of dollars for my whole music collection. Also, I don't want to deal with DRM or dubious formats like Apple's AAC. So it's about price and convenience for me.

But mobile applications are dirt cheap and really easy to get. This is really fucked up. What possible motivation could these people have?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment
by daedalus on Wed 25th Jul 2012 07:34 UTC in reply to "Comment"
daedalus Member since:
2011-01-14

Perhaps they have the same view of apps as you have of music. To me, music is dirt cheap and really easy to get, as a result I'd say I've paid for the majority of my music collection (and it's all DRM-free and in MP3 format). It also results in my music collection actually being music that I want, not with thousands of tracks I copied from a friend's hard drive and have no interest in other than for bulking up numbers.

Not saying that's what you're about, but I've seen plenty of people like that...

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment
by pandronic on Wed 25th Jul 2012 11:02 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment"
pandronic Member since:
2006-05-18

Well, for my East-European income, 0.99 a track is waaaay too much (0.10-0.15 would be OK). I also keep only music that I like, but still that's thousands of tracks collected over time. Also, I'm not a lost sale, because I wouldn't ever buy music at that price, even if that would mean not listening to music at all.

On the other hand, apps are very reasonably priced - so I've bought at least 50 if not more in a little over a year.

Unless these "pirates" are from a 3rd world countries (in which case how can they afford a smartphone?) I can't imagine they couldn't afford a few 1-2$ apps. Really, the only conclusion is that these people are assholes.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment - just say'n
by jabbotts on Wed 25th Jul 2012 19:12 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

'they are assholes for infringing copyright on $1 software programs but I'm ok because I only infringe copyright on $1 music tracks.'

hm.... Not a judgement on your copying music, just questioning why the distinction given the equal pricing.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Comment - just say'n
by pandronic on Thu 26th Jul 2012 05:28 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment - just say'n"
pandronic Member since:
2006-05-18

I don't know, maybe I'm also an asshole by somebody else's standards. I just make a distinction on whether you can afford the things you pirate or not ... In my book, if you can afford them and you still pirate them, then you're an asshole.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment
by ze_jerkface on Wed 25th Jul 2012 10:01 UTC in reply to "Comment"
ze_jerkface Member since:
2012-06-22

But mobile applications are dirt cheap and really easy to get. This is really fucked up. What possible motivation could these people have?


It's just like pc gaming where dorks think they are "sticking it to the man" by not paying. Problem is that when piracy ratios get high enough it fucks up the market for everyone, including them.

Reply Score: 2

Ugh.
by Gullible Jones on Wed 25th Jul 2012 06:07 UTC
Gullible Jones
Member since:
2006-05-23

So many things wrong with the article I don't know where to start.

- I don't see him criticizing Microsoft for having an "open" model, but they definitely do by his definition. You could call Microsoft out for enabling piracy as much as you could call Google out, IMO (i.e. not at all, unless you're Matt Gemmell).

- His argument that openness is bad because it enables piracy is BS; it's like saying that the internet is bad because it enables black markets. Aside from throwing out the baby with the bathwater, it implies that the best way to prevent moral transgressions is to render people incapable of them. The potential here for reductio ad absurdem should be obvious.

- A minor point: he says "Closed is good for business." And we know that "good for business" == "good for the world," right? I'm sure millions of people in Congo could testify to that.

- "But freedom is bad, when you get too much of it." This statement gives me heartburn - because it's true, but Gemmell is abusing it horribly. IMO he is forgetting the operating principle of the statement, which is something like "Your freedom to swing your arm ends at my nose." If breaking people's noses becomes a problem, you don't put everyone in handcuffs so they can't swing their arms; you tell people that breaking noses is not tolerated, and enforce consequences for it.

Obviously part of the problem with piracy is a) consequences are hard to enforce and b) nobody seems capable of agreeing on what they should be. But turning the whole software world into a walled garden because idiots can't be bothered to pay one lousy dollar for a game... That is just stupid.

If I didn't know better, I'd say Gemmell was a troll. As it is, I find myself seriously wondering if he is a shill. And mind, I am not a FOSS fanboy - I do not use that word lightly.

Reply Score: 15

RE: Ugh.
by M.Onty on Wed 25th Jul 2012 12:35 UTC in reply to "Ugh."
M.Onty Member since:
2009-10-23

Aside from throwing out the baby with the bathwater, it implies that the best way to prevent moral transgressions is to render people incapable of them
...
If breaking people's noses becomes a problem, you don't put everyone in handcuffs so they can't swing their arms


Point very well made.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Ugh.
by Moochman on Wed 25th Jul 2012 12:41 UTC in reply to "Ugh."
Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

The article seems to me like it's pretty much a summary of all of his barroom arguments with his open-advocating friend-of-a-friend. As such it's no surprise that it's almost 100% randomly thrown-together BS diatribe.

Edited 2012-07-25 12:41 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Got it all wrong
by Soulbender on Wed 25th Jul 2012 06:35 UTC
Soulbender
Member since:
2005-08-18

show me the money.

Clearly this guy didn't understand the movie's message.

If you want a platform to be commercially viable for third-party software developers, you have to lock it down.

Uh really? Then why are we always told about the big piracy problems on Windows and, to some extent, OSX?
How about game consoles? They're pretty locked down. Surely these closed and locked platforms could not possible have this problem? Yet they do.
The explanation for that is rather simple, really. The correlation between open and piracy does not exist. It's something certain people have created in their minds so they'll have an excuse when their products fail. Rationalization is a wonderful thing.
Piracy on Android might be a problem but if it is it's not because of Android being open. More likely it's because Google fscked up in some way or don't care.

Here's an idea, instead of whining about how your apps get pirated on Android and you don't make a profit do the fiscally sound thing and don't develop for that platform. You know, vote with your talent.
Maybe it's easier to rant on the interweb though; which, by the way, is based on openness. Obviously no-one has managed to monetize it....

Life is serious

Maybe you should take it less seriously?

Reply Score: 3

RE: Got it all wrong
by dsmogor on Wed 25th Jul 2012 07:38 UTC in reply to "Got it all wrong"
dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

Well, he doesn't and want you to make this choice as well, that's the whole point of the article.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Got it all wrong
by Soulbender on Wed 25th Jul 2012 07:55 UTC in reply to "RE: Got it all wrong"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

it would appear from another post that he did make an Android app and that it didn't sell. Blaming that failure on Andoid being open is still incredibly lame.

Reply Score: 3

Life is serious
by phoudoin on Wed 25th Jul 2012 07:47 UTC in reply to "Got it all wrong"
phoudoin Member since:
2006-06-09

By this logic, no wonder that a android game won't sell: life is serious, so no time *and* money to waste on non-serious stuff. Problem solved.

I can't count how much his logic seems broken...

Reply Score: 5

MS was built by piracy
by unclefester on Wed 25th Jul 2012 06:42 UTC
unclefester
Member since:
2007-01-13

MS was built by tolerating piracy. At one stage (early 90s) in Russia there were thousands of pirated copies of MS Word for every legal copy.

Reply Score: 3

RE: MS was built by piracy
by ze_jerkface on Wed 25th Jul 2012 10:04 UTC in reply to "MS was built by piracy"
ze_jerkface Member since:
2012-06-22

So? They also had plenty of legitimate customers and zero competition.

Just because MS and Adobe can absorb some piracy doesn't mean that piracy is never destructive.

Both MS and Adobe have always been able to rely on businesses to pay for legit copies. Windows is mostly a hidden cost to consumers.

But for Android games piracy is the norm. Most people who play them aren't paying for them.
http://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/android-piracy-rate-the-worst-si-has...

Reply Score: 1

Comment by Sodki
by Sodki on Wed 25th Jul 2012 06:43 UTC
Sodki
Member since:
2005-11-10

The discussion of this topic on Slashdot was pretty interesting. Basically the guy couldn't sell the app because is was crap and had some suspicious permission requirements.

Reply Score: 6

RE: Comment by Sodki
by Soulbender on Wed 25th Jul 2012 12:17 UTC in reply to "Comment by Sodki"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Could you provide a reference? I really don't want to read all of that slashdot thread (or slashdot at all, really).

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Sodki
by Sodki on Thu 26th Jul 2012 12:00 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Sodki"
Sodki Member since:
2005-11-10

The Slashdot story is here:

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/07/24/205211/app-developer-android...

Just read the first post marked +5.

Reply Score: 3

Non sense.
by phoudoin on Wed 25th Jul 2012 07:36 UTC
phoudoin
Member since:
2006-06-09

"[Andoid] system is designed for piracy from the ground up"

Yeah, right, as is Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, BSD, AIX or any software platform on which your can install an executable without the permission of operating system editor!

What would be true is iOS software ecosystem is designed to make Apple control everything and on side-effect is some anti-piracy effectiveness. It cost you 30% of your app price, though.

What would be true is that all other software ecosystems are not strong enough or not under one single actor power enough to allow such ecosystem to be fully controlled, and thus get some anti-piracy effectiveness.

Plus, even ecosystem that are designed to avoid piracy can fail: see DVD and its DeCSS, BluRay or the music CD's DRM. Does the Audio/visual industry *designed* his market for piracy, really!?

As the author said itself : show me the money. People buy stuff with money.
No money, no sale.
No value, no sale.
No will, no sale.

Less money means the value or the will must be higher than before.

Regarding "Dead trigger", I'll bet that most pirated versions were due to:
- no trial version.
- 15min to try a paid app is not enough for a game
- Google wallet is not available everywhere
- too low price tag: 0.99$ translate as poor value app in the user mind. And poor value translates as wont pay for that.


Less value, no will, no sale.
And, no, it's not "lost" sale, but "no" sale, plain and simple.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Non sense.
by Beta on Wed 25th Jul 2012 18:32 UTC in reply to "Non sense."
Beta Member since:
2005-07-06

versions were due to:
- no trial version.
- 15min to try a paid app is not enough for a game
- Google wallet is not available everywhere
- too low price tag: 0.99$ translate as poor value app in the user mind. And poor value translates as wont pay for that.


- in‐app payments for everything.
- boring gameplay.
- seemingly arbitrary aiming, headshots from misses, and misses from headshots.

I bought it, think its an ok game. Not perturbed by the change in price, though if it had been twice the price without in‐app payments I’m sure it would have sold well ‐ most negative comments on the store are from that.

Ignoring the article linked here, such a troll post… Android needs more penetration before it gets purchasing parity, but that requires more of an explanation than this article deserves.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by Radio
by Radio on Wed 25th Jul 2012 07:59 UTC
Radio
Member since:
2009-06-20

Yeah. The closed model.

We all saw recently how well it worked with Sparrow *snicker*

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by Radio
by lucas_maximus on Wed 25th Jul 2012 09:28 UTC in reply to "Comment by Radio"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

:facepalm:

They made money and got bought by Google. The owner is laughing his way to the bank.

Edited 2012-07-25 09:29 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by Radio
by Soulbender on Wed 25th Jul 2012 12:23 UTC in reply to "Comment by Radio"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

That's an entirely different issue. That was about users being left behind when the company behind the code was acquired. This is about developers not being able to make money on an open platform.
They have nothing in common.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Radio
by Radio on Wed 25th Jul 2012 18:56 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Radio"
Radio Member since:
2009-06-20

It is not a different issue.

I have submitted a news item for OSNews that explains exactly why. Have a look:
http://appcubby.com/blog/the-sparrow-problem/

developpers are not able to make money on a closed platform either. Note the advice: "if you make a game, make it free-to-play". In Apple's closed app store! Puts a whole new dimension to Dead Trigger's decision to go free on Android "because of piracy", they say.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by Radio
by dvhh on Wed 25th Jul 2012 15:31 UTC in reply to "Comment by Radio"
dvhh Member since:
2006-03-20

Hey it was great business, and proving that good business is not necessary good for end-users.

I would point out that open source is probably better for business and end user,
citing that Apple is doing great with OS and programs build over open source code (compared to an open source allergic Microsoft).

Reply Score: 2

Comment by phoudoin
by phoudoin on Wed 25th Jul 2012 08:12 UTC
phoudoin
Member since:
2006-06-09

Buying an app on the Android Market is substantially similar to how you buys apps on iOS: you search, find the app, click Buy, confirm, and it downloads. It’s not an unduly onerous process, and certainly not a barrier to the business model. This isn’t piracy due to frustration.


Someone think that everybody clicking on "Buy" button is living in same country than him.

Reality check: people happened to have an android smartphone *and* live in a country where Google Play payment platform is not supported.
For example, in France Google Play payment is working. But not in french Caribbean islands. Go figure.

So claiming there can't be frustration motive is a bit short IMHO.

Reply Score: 5

Comment by phoudoin
by phoudoin on Wed 25th Jul 2012 08:24 UTC
phoudoin
Member since:
2006-06-09

Another pearl:

"nerds are such a tiny minority of people that nobody else much cares what the hell they think."

Oh yeah. Nobody at NASDAQ cares about what nerds can think these days. Plus, nerds and business hardly matches these days.
It's not like they would create a whole new fast-growing industry from their nerdish world...

Reply Score: 5

r_a_trip
Member since:
2005-07-06

It was a very interesting diatribe to read. It basically boils down to "iOS apps make more money then Android apps". The author seems to think that the App Store jail Apple has built has something to do with that. Maybe that is true, but people buying apple kit most of the time seem to be willing to spend more money on gadgets. So maybe that is why they also spend more on iOS apps.

I'm using an Android phone. I've bought a handful of apps. I've looked at a few pirated titles, but that is more hassle than it's worth. Inconvenient download, inconvenient installation and no automatic updates. (Bought the titles afterwards.) But when I really look at my use of my phone, I just use it as an IM device and a mobile browser. Apps? Yeah, fun to download and install, but a.) I'm in the age bracket where I don't have a lot of time to spend idly on mini apps (not even looking at the time spent at work) and b.) a lot of (most?) apps really aren't that earth shattering. I think the last part is the real problem. As cool and "powerful" as todays smartphones are, they just aren't as useful as other computing platforms.

Gaming platform? Too small, to constrained. Only good for "Angry Bird" style games and most of those games are played by adults on Facebook anyways. Target market - schoolkids, without payment means. Serious over 20 gamers have their PC rigs and their PS3's and Xboxes.

Productivity? Too small, to constrained, to awkward for input. With the exception (maybe) of the Asus Transformer with dock, smartphones and tablets are but a shadow of a standard desktop computer. Ubuntu for Android doesn't count, because you transform the whole system in a regular desktop.

Entertainment system? Unless the batterylife of smartphones improve dramatically, no go either. Watching movies on a smartphone (still too small, to constrained) or a tablet isn't all that when your battery drains faster than a shopaholics bank account. Listening to music is just the same.

The apps themselves are more applets than apps (partly because of the system constraints). So far I've not seen anything killer. So why would people spend boatloads of cash on subpar apps? Or apps that could be useful, but are hampered by power consumption. When push comes to shove, a smartphone is still just a phone with some extra fancy capabilities. (Yes, I'm willing to take the dent in my geek cred ;)

Maybe that is why we don't see a surge in mobile app millionaires. What these app developers currently have to sell is the equivalent of the $5 bargain bin at the cash register. From time to time you'll buy something that is in there, but it is not a regular shopping habit if you want durable, quality stuff.

Reply Score: 5

ze_jerkface Member since:
2012-06-22

Oh give me a break, so if Android all of a sudden had the same library as the iPhone then all these pirates would start paying for games?

People pirate because they want free stuff. Why do so many nerds have such problems dealing with the reality of human nature?

I've seen your excuse for pc games and funny that you can find high piracy rates for highly rated games like world of goo. It's not like pirates took a break from pirating to show their appreciation for the developer.

You can also find low scoring MMOs with zero piracy because the game is handled server side. It has nothing to do with quality, pirates don't pick and choose. Only in some nerd rainbow fantasy world will pirates choose to buy based on ethics/openness/karma/quality/etc. We do not live in that world.

Reply Score: 1

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

People pirate because they want free stuff. Why do so many nerds have such problems dealing with the reality of human nature?


Because I don't know anyone who pirates mobile applications. As I've said before, I'm 90% sure this is simply a case of the Google Play Store only offering paid applications in 31 countries.

Interestingly, none of the few complaining developers release actual data, which automatically makes all sorts of red flags go up. It's all their word - and in the case of Dead Trigger, a very questionable word.

I do science. Give me hard figures, and then we'll talk. Until then, this is all random conjecture with very little basis in fact.

Edited 2012-07-25 10:54 UTC

Reply Score: 6

r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

You didn't read what I wrote. I said people don't see the need to spend money on apps, because the apps are of very low value. That app developers don't make money isn't predicated on piracy (that's only a small part of it), it's predicated on their less than useful wares. Smart phones are shiny toys, not a new software eco-system.

The way current smart phones & OSes are made forces app developers to make unuseful, high volume, low income crap.

We can blame piracy all day long for the abysmal performance of smart phone app stores, but ultimately it is down to the useless crap inside the app store that makes people not buy apps (the biggest chunk being people who don't pirate).

To make it crystal clear: The bulk of the apps themselves are utter useless, throwaway crap. Not worth spending a penny on.

To put it yet another way: The only ones making money from the application markets are Google and Apple.

Reply Score: 5

Yoko_T Member since:
2011-08-18

Entertainment system? Unless the batterylife of smartphones improve dramatically, no go either. Watching movies on a smartphone (still too small, to constrained) or a tablet isn't all that when your battery drains faster than a shopaholics bank account. Listening to music is just the same.



There's another reason too. Unlike the default Ipad video and music players, the Android ones are damn good.

They can basically play anything you throw at them, especially if your hardware supports the video/music formats.

The only real reason to change from the default Android players is you want a player with a flashier GUI.

Not much of a real reason is it?

Reply Score: 1

Gifting
by Chrispynutt on Wed 25th Jul 2012 11:59 UTC
Chrispynutt
Member since:
2012-03-14

Amongst the options to pay I think gifting would be a great one.

If you were really really into a funky new app and you wanted to gift to a friend this would be a great wee way to generate extra revenue.

One thing that holds me back is that I am not convinced that my 2.5 year old Acer Liquid with it's 256mb ram will run anything.

A better Play Store in general needs to be designed. Seriously that design would just work with thousand apps not a million.

I use the web version more often than not and usually via site reviews.

Google needs a blog reading app with good Play integration, or something that breaks out of the tired List and Catalog design.

Reply Score: 1

tomz
Member since:
2010-05-06

If the original author or the author of the article was really worried, they could use any in-app purchase system they wanted, and link the enable code to the ESN or some other hard ID and use cryptographic signatures to lock down the individual app and/or enable it. Or even send a custom APK with "Registered to XYZ".

If anything Google is too open - you can lock your apps tighter than iOS if you choose to, use any method for distribution you want to, use any purchasing method you want to. If you can convince people to purchase them under those conditions.

Perhaps someone can develop a strong DRM system for android as a bolt-on, but would developers then flock to it and PAY the licensing fees? I don't think there is a market for it.

I've bought the "contribute" versions of many excellent free apps. I haven't pirated any android app because there has been no reason to. But I don't do games.

iOS has piracy through jailbreaking, and now the MP3 libraries. I'm waiting for a multigigabyte torrent with low quality but recognizable MP3s that will unlock the entire iTunes musicmatch(?) library.

Closing things down won't help. You can read the horror stories about Apple's byzantine approval process. Perhaps you can become their prisoner, but it won't necessarily mean you will be well compensated. Some iOS apps provide enough revenue to support developers, others do not.

Reply Score: 5

open = piracy? really?
by jabbotts on Wed 25th Jul 2012 17:58 UTC
jabbotts
Member since:
2007-09-06

haven't taken a look at the games market with it's 99.999% closed source software and staggering copyright infringement claims?

Reply Score: 1