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Developer Drops Game Price To $0 Citing Android Piracy 433

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the step-two-still-unknown dept.
hypnosec writes with news of a curious way of fighting piracy. From the article: "Android based devices are being activated at the rate of million a day and users are downloading apps and games at a rate never seen before. Despite these promising stats, developers of Android based games and apps are not really keen on porting games and apps that have been successful on iOS to Android. Why? Rampant piracy on Android! Madfinger Games has joined the long list of developers who have recently turned their paid Android based game, Dead Trigger, to a free one. Originally priced at $0.99 on Play Store, the first person shooter game is now available for free . The iOS version of the game still costs $0.99 and hasn't been made free." Zero-cost, but certainly not Free Software; one has to wonder whether Open Source games with a "donation" build in the store would do better than proprietary games with upfront costs.
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Developer Drops Game Price To $0 Citing Android Piracy

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  • Re:Sad (Score:5, Informative)

    by Vintermann (400722) on Monday July 23, 2012 @05:08PM (#40741907) Homepage

    Sometimes it's appropriate. I bought Early Bird for Android. Later they made it free, which I'm OK with. What's not OK is making the free version (which I was automatically "upgraded" to) have intrusive ads.

  • by X0563511 (793323) on Monday July 23, 2012 @05:15PM (#40742025) Homepage Journal

    See that * next to crazyjj that you carefully omitted from your summary?

    That means he pays slashdot. So he can see such articles 10 minutes or so before they post. He had plenty of time to write that up.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 23, 2012 @05:16PM (#40742031)

    Maybe you didn't notice the star next to the username, indicating the person is a subscriber and can see articles earlier. But keep pushing a conspiracy theory, it's so fun to watch.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday July 23, 2012 @05:17PM (#40742067) Journal
    Well, except in the whole old-style 'making money' sense. Apple devices still occupy the most profitable 10% of the market. I suspect that Google and Apple are both happy with this: Google wants lots of Android users so it can collect information about them for advertising and make money out of them, Apple wants the high-margin part of the market to make the biggest profit from direct sales.
  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@@@cornell...edu> on Monday July 23, 2012 @05:21PM (#40742121) Homepage

    He didn't... Dead Trigger is a "freemium" app - given how critical in-app-purchases (IAPs) are for that game, it should never have had an initial purchase price assigned to it.

    90%+ of their revenue was from IAPs to begin with.

    They're blaming it on piracy - but plenty of other developers are having no issues with piracy. The fact was they put in a perfect recipe to drive people towards piracy - not making your app worth the money paid for it. Dead Trigger's reliance on IAP meant that the initial purchase price did nothing but anger users.

  • by P-niiice (1703362) on Monday July 23, 2012 @05:21PM (#40742123)
    Hyep, that would get cracked in about 43 seconds. Android crackers have cracked pretty much all in-app protections. We even have apps that crack other apps and remove ads from them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 23, 2012 @05:22PM (#40742145)

    Of course, with IOS, unless your customers are jailbroken, all apps have to be sold through Apple. So there's 100% piracy, although Apple only steals 30%, like any successful parasite.

    Been working on a sales model that "tried" to take less than the 30%, however, when you start looking at the volume of product at $0.99 credit processing fees eat up most of that 30%. Now there are a lot of tricks to manage that (like how Apple will bundle purchases and do one transaction at the end of the day, but for the vast majority we just couldn't offer more than 70% on sales that less than $.99. Now for higher priced stuff, the credit fee percentage drops because most of it is tied in transaction fees which run around $.20 per transaction, so on a $10 purchase it is a much lower percentage.

    We are looking at alternative models like dwolla that don't charge for transactions under $10.00 but not enough people are on that platform to build a business model around it.

  • Gimmick? (Score:4, Informative)

    by DaFallus (805248) on Monday July 23, 2012 @05:24PM (#40742173)
    This developer is shady. Check the reviews for this game on Google Play [google.com]. Apparently you can't get very far in the game without buying weapons/upgrades that cost real money. There are a fair number of complaints from people spending $5 for in-game credits, not receiving the credits, and getting no response from the developers.
  • by HarrySquatter (1698416) on Monday July 23, 2012 @05:32PM (#40742283)

    You realize that Google takes a 30% cut fom paid apps, too, right?

  • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Monday July 23, 2012 @05:34PM (#40742305) Homepage Journal
    I'd guess somewhere between $750 million [cnet.com] and $500 million [wired.com]... but both of those figures may be before tariffs—note that Apple makes off with a whopping 30% of each app sale.
  • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Monday July 23, 2012 @05:36PM (#40742325) Homepage Journal
    ...as does Google.
  • by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Monday July 23, 2012 @05:41PM (#40742409)

    The article mentions the piracy rate for iOS, the rate is orders of magnitude smaller.

    Unless you're reading a different "the article" than I did, no it doesn't. It doesn't say anything about the piracy rate on iOS and the word "magnitude" does not appear in the article text. The only claim it makes in terms of numbers, for either platform, is this paragraph:

    If we go by piracy ratio, developers have come up with some rather starling figures. Korea based com2uS has said that some games have seen piracy rate as high as 90%. Appy Entertainment have seen piracy to the ratio of 70:1 i.e. for every 70 illegal installs, there in only one genuine purchase.

    Also, if the piracy rate on iOS was in fact "orders of magnitude" smaller, with "orders" being plural, then that would assume a worst-case piracy rate of 0.9%. Various statistics floating around, like these [mtiks.com], show iOS piracy rates between 25% - 75% for various types of apps. Various developers, when they actually disclose these numbers, refer to worst-case rates at between 50% to 90%.

    In other words, you're talking out of your ass. I guess you're strictly correct, though. The iOS piracy rate is zero "orders of magnitude" smaller than the Android piracy rate. So yeah, it's orders of magnitude smaller. Zero orders. It's also zero orders larger.

  • by rgbrenner (317308) on Monday July 23, 2012 @06:33PM (#40742887)

    Did you read the links you posted? The first link has NO FIGURES at all. The second says this:

    This year alone, the iOS App Store has provided developers with $3.4 billion in revenues, while the Android Market has delivered only $240 million to its developers.

    That's way off from your "750 million and 500 million".

    Why bother posting links if you're just going to make up the numbers anyway?!

  • by Grayhand (2610049) on Monday July 23, 2012 @06:42PM (#40743003)
    Everyone complains about the "whopping 30%" Apple takes but it's out of ignorance of how distribution and retail works. They are acting as both a distributor and retailer so 30% is excellent. Others tried charging 50% but most retreated because of the iTunes model. I'm working on self publishing books and 30% is a dream compared to traditional publishers. Considering what they bring to the table 30% isn't out of line in any way.
  • by Karlt1 (231423) on Monday July 23, 2012 @06:50PM (#40743099)

    "google allows in app purchases via third party platform, apple does not. apple will take the 30% of everything, forever"

    http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2012/03/new-android-market-rule-prohibits-apps-that-use-third-party-in-app-payment-services/ [arstechnica.com]

  • by cbo100 (770453) on Monday July 23, 2012 @07:01PM (#40743185) Homepage

    I won't do in-app purchases even for free apps, and even for apps I would have gladly paid several dollars for retail. The reason is simple: If I restore my phone, get a new phone, or even just uninstall and reinstall, I lose credit for that IAP.

    What? iOS handles this just fine. Got a new phone? Restore your backup from iCloud, most apps will just keep the purchases enabled. If you uninstall and reinstall the app then you just use "restore In App Purchases" button and they all re-appear.

  • by Corporate T00l (244210) on Monday July 23, 2012 @07:04PM (#40743217) Journal

    Are IAPs really that transient on Android? I must admit that I don't currently own any Android devices, but on my iOS devices, in-app purchases apply at the iTunes account level and are not only persistent, but also apply (without any extra purchase) to all instances of that app across different devices set to the same account. The iOS behavior where purchases are tied to your account and not to any particular device has made buying both apps and upgrades much more appealing to me than I originally thought would be the case.

  • by SomePgmr (2021234) on Monday July 23, 2012 @07:49PM (#40743643) Homepage

    You didn't cite a single source.

    I thought I was pretty up-front about where those came from, and I don't think I presented it as my own, comprehensive research into the market intricacies of mobile platforms.

    But if you wanted my search terms, I think it was something like, "piracy ios vs android" or "developer ios vs android". Going a little further for those who don't want to look...

    First one was probably: http://www.diasks2.com/post/20172033158/ios-vs-android-a-comparison-for-first-time [diasks2.com]
    or maybe
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/appsblog/2012/jun/10/apple-developer-wwdc-schmidt-android [guardian.co.uk]
    or maybe
    http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2012/05/android-app-sales-piracy-matters-seasons-dont/ [lifehacker.com.au]

    There are about a billion more if you care to read them.

    Second was probably: http://www.develop-online.net/news/38848/Android-app-pirated-2300-more-than-iOS-edition [develop-online.net]
    Though here's one that says 90% - http://keyeslabs.com/joomla/blogs/i-think-im-becoming-an-android/136-android-the-perfect-piracy-storm [keyeslabs.com]
    and one that says they had 83%, if you prefer - http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2012/05/wired-uk-android-game-piracy/ [wired.com]

    Third was something like: http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-ios-vs-android-fragmentation-2012-6 [businessinsider.com]
    or
    http://opensignalmaps.com/reports/fragmentation.php [opensignalmaps.com]

    Of course there are another 8 gazillion results for each of these. I said only what I saw.

    That aside, many of these are topics we've covered extensively here on Slashdot. If you think it's all FUD, you're obviously welcome to discuss and I'll be interested to see it. I have no real vested interest in the results besides being a user.

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday July 23, 2012 @08:12PM (#40743847) Journal

    One crucial difference is:

    "A key difference, however, is that Google offers exceptions for retailers of physical and virtual goods (including ebooks)."

    Which is why Kindle for Android still lets you buy books directly from the apps, while Kindle for iOS is just a reader now.

    All that said, it's pretty ironic - given that Win8 does not restrict in-app purchases to its store and does not mandate the 30% fee, that actually makes it more open than Android in some sense. Though on Android the rules only apply to those apps that are published through the store, and you can always sideload...

  • Rubbish.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by anomaly256 (1243020) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @12:39AM (#40745599)
    Who pirates a 99cent game? I'm betting no one. More likely, they just realised they could get more revenue per install with an ad-supported + spyware model and knew Apple wouldn't let them put spyware in the app store. Lets do a quick test... android market.. dead trigger.. permissions.. Oh look, "READ PHONE STATE AND IDENTITY - Allows the app to access the phone features of the device. An app with this permission can determine the phone number and serial number of this phone, whether a call is active, the number that call is connected to and the like." and "RETRIEVE RUNNING APPS - Allows the app to retrieve information about currently and recently running tasks. Malicious apps may discover private information about other apps." and "AUTOMATICALLY START AT BOOT Allows the app to have itself started as soon as the system has finished booting. This can make it take longer to start the tablet and allow the app to slow down the overall tablet by always running. Allows the app to have itself started as soon as the system has finished booting. This can make it take longer to start the phone and allow the app to slow down the overall phone by always running." ...... Yep, nothing suss here, a FRACKIN VIDEO GAME totally needs those permissions.

    Keep your 'free' crap. And next time, at least TRY to mask your dishonesty a bit better. This bullshit isn't fooling anyone.

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