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Dead Trigger set free due to "unbelievably high" Android app piracy

Madfinger drops the price on its 99-cent shooter due to Android piracy

Madfinger has decided to make its newest game, Dead Trigger, absolutely free on the Google Play Store due to "unbelievably high" Android app piracy. The title was released at the end of June for 99 cents, with in-app purchases also supporting the game. Today, Madfinger released a statement on the game's Facebook page about the price drop.

"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. - It was much less than $8 for Shadowgun, but on the other hand we didn't dare to provide it for free, since we hadn't got XP with free-to-play format so far," said the Czech-based company.

"However, even for one buck, the piracy rate is soooo giant, that we finally decided to provide Dead Trigger for free. "

This is not the first time that developers have complained about the high piracy rate on the Android platform. Two months ago, Football Manager developer Sports Interactive cited a 9:1 piracy rate on Android. It's a problem Google will need to fix, especially with Microsoft entering the app store market soon.

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Latest comments (15)

Andy Samson QA Supervisor, Digital Media Exchange4 years ago
The games are dirt cheap and yet people still resort to piracy. People are being conditioned into thinking games are throw-aways that costs a buck, and now they are not worth spending on. They've become mediums for Ads. This business model is degrading games and in the long run it will bring the industry to its knees.
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Adam Campbell Producer, Hopster4 years ago
Its a bit worrying to think people still aren't buying games at minimal cost. I spend a bit more on Android games, but when something is less than 2 or less than 3 and its a good game I can't see a reason not to pay. Maybe I'm biased or maybe my morals and understanding are just better than 'some' - now to think of some solutions.
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Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters4 years ago
I would imagine it's probably kids who haven't got credit cards, so they can't actually pay anything at all. Or people who don't want to input payment details so would rather just pirate it. I don't think the actual value is important, it's getting people to pay in the first place which is a big barrier.
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Show all comments (15)
Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany4 years ago
Then you hear people that keeps saying that piracy is not as big of a deal.

Well, they should thing again... It was only a lousy Dollar for crying out loud!
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Peter Dwyer Games Designer/Developer 4 years ago
Interesting take but, technically 1 dollar was the entry fee, followed by god knows how many more dollars in in-app purchases.

There seems to be a rebellion around games with in-app at the moment. People are starting to feel ripped off again. It's also doubtful the piracy had anything at all to do with price. Google Play simply has no protection for apps and so it's not exactly a chore for anyone to get any app for free on the service.

When google start taking app security seriously, then we will see piracy rates drop. Until then there is simply no barrier for anyone from a child to a determined pirate.
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Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd4 years ago
We've seen this play out so many times, on J2ME and iOS before as well.

1. Make a game that's tightly targeted to the demographic would are most likely to know how to circumvent paying. (3D, console genre, teenager-friendly content)

2. Complain about ratio of pirates (most of whom would never have paid) to paying customers.

3. Make the game free (with IAPs), when anyone could have seen that it should have been free in the first place.

The number of Android devices out there, the lax security and the relative scarcity of high quality content means that the pirate:legit ratio will always be terrible.

There's a point at which you should probably just accept that you're not going to get everyone in China and Russia (and most people under the age of 15 in North America and Europe) from paying up, and instead focus on how best to serve the players that will pay.
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D4 years ago
Google really is missing a trick by not having gift cards like Apple has for iTunes.
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Andrew Animator 4 years ago
If the argument that everone who pirates a product is a lost sale was true I could accept a wider argument on this. But we all know that only a small portion of people who pirate a product would actually buy it if it was their only way to get it.

So yes, there might be a 9:1 (or whatever) ratio of pirated copies to legit ones. But that does no equate to a 9:1 ratio of lost sales vs sales. That number is probably more like 1:10. I would guess......

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andrew on 24th July 2012 1:34pm

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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd4 years ago
Completely agreed with Robin and Alex. While piracy is an unfortunate reality, it's also been shown through many independent studies that most pirates in ANY market would never have purchased that product legitimately, and this includes the pirates of similarly cheap $.99 iTunes music. Instead of looking at pirates as lost sales, ignore them, and focus on benefiting and increasing your actual consumer base.

Also, people are kidding themselves if they don't think piracy is rampant on iOS as well. It takes a jailbreak, sure, but that's a common practice among the tech savvy, which games like this target pretty much exclusively.
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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd4 years ago
Completely agreed with Robin and Alex. While piracy is an unfortunate reality, it's also been shown through many independent studies that most pirates in ANY market would never have purchased that product legitimately, and this includes the pirates of similarly cheap $.99 iTunes music. Instead of looking at pirates as lost sales, ignore them, and focus on benefiting and increasing your actual consumer base.

Also, people are kidding themselves if they don't think piracy is rampant on iOS as well. It takes a jailbreak, sure, but that's a common practice among the tech savvy, which games like this target pretty much exclusively.
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Peter Dwyer Games Designer/Developer 4 years ago
I see most people here get it. Piracy figures are always misleading as they don't represent lost sales. This stopped being a legitimate excuse for poor sales a long while ago as games like angry birds have so ably shown.
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Ian Brown IT Developer / IT Infrastructure 4 years ago
Just because people pirate it for free doesn't mean that they'd have bought it in the first place. If they stood in the middle of town and just handed out a code to the game for free I'd be they'd run out in no time, if they charged everyone 1$/1 for it it would be much less. If you have paid for something (regardless how expensive but obviously more has a bigger factor) and its bad, its not a nice feeling that you've wasted (in your opinion) money that you've earned. If on the other hand its the worst thing you've ever set your eyes on, yet it was free you think nothing of it. Psychology, doesn't excuse the fact but can help to understand it.
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Another instance that disproves the theory that people pirate games because of their high price which some people use to justify piracy.

The other theory is Ian's above, that just because they pirate it doesn't mean they would've bought it in the first place, true to a degree but what it means is that they definitely won't buy it.

The arguments defending piracy are old and tiresome, it's theft pure and simple. I'm not saying I haven't downloaded anything but don't try and justify it as anything else.
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Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd4 years ago
I don't think anyone is defending piracy. Just pointing out that it's never going to be completely eradicated. You seldom hear successful companies railing against it.
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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd4 years ago
Piracy isn't good, but it's a reality of the market. The problem is people use it as a scapegoat for other failings.
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