Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 23rd Jul 2012 12:57 UTC
Google Without giving any detailed information, Madfinger Games announced that because the piracy rates of their game Dead Trigger were so high on Android, they made the game available for free. This sucks balls. I'm interested in more detailed statistics, especially where, exactly, the piracy rate is highest, considering you can only get paid Google Play applications in 31 countries, and then, often only with a credit card (which many people outside of the US don't have and/or use). It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if those piracy rates mostly come from places without paid applications support and/or with lousy payment options. In any case, Google needs to get its act together with the Play Store.
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A week ago we experienced this issue firsthand, when we wanted to publish our game (Lilli Adventures 3D).
Whenever a developer adds a new package (e.g. a patch to a new version), a lot of automated file sharing gets triggered. Right overnight after we published, the web was full of hundreds of blogs featuring our game, all coming with download links. We didn't tell anybody, so this was fully automated, and after the patch to version 1.1 we could see it again. We also have proof of at least 150 illegal downloads, as some people really pressed the support link and emailed us, complaining that they couldn't play the illegally downloaded version. It's up to you now to extrapolate the real numbers of downloads (some filesharers had counters, they showed thousands of downloads). The contents in the blogs where mostly exact copies, and the links often the same, though we collected about 100 of them and send out DMCA take-down notices for each of them (manually).
Fortunately we had implemented Google's LVL check and didn't allow people to play the pirated game. But a single cracked app (luckily the interest wasn't high enough yet) could produce a real threat to us.
The real problem are those services that spread one download to dozens of filesharers. It is managable, but it sucks.
I'm unsure if we ever will publish an app again, because it makes no sense, economically. People don't even want to spend as little as 99ct for some game worth some months of work. The only choice is to use in-app payment or produce spam apps.
People don't want to pay for things any more, but producers of course need to get at least some money in order to have bread on the table. If that's no longer possible, the app environment will change to what is possible - i.e. apps heavily relying on selling play time or in-game things and making people addicted, or other, most profane types of games. That's what they want it seems. Normal games don't pay the development costs anymore.
Next time we publish a game, we'll take that into account and publish a free game with in-app payments. There is no other real option for a small team of developers.
But true, credit cards are a no-go in most parts of europe, e.g. here in Germany, we pay with debit cards. But I don't think that's the problem here. Normally you can pay for apps using your carrier, i.e. it will automatically appear on your phone invoice.

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