The Android platform continues to go from strength to strength, with a reported 1 million new Android-based devices being activated every single day.
Despite this success, many game developers remain cool about the platform. The latest developer to attack Android users is Madfinger Games, the studio behind high-fidelity zombie shooter Dead Trigger, which launched on Android for $0.99 at the start of July.
Earlier this week the developer released a statement saying that, due to the huge levels of piracy, it’s been forced to drop the price-point, instead allowing anybody to play the game for free in the hope that the studio will earn revenue from In-app Purchases.
“The main reason [for the price drop]? The piracy rate on Android devices, that was unbelievably high,” a spokesperson from the studio wrote on the game’s Facebook page. “At first we intend to make this game available for as many people as possible – that’s why it was for as little as buck. It was much less than 8$ 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.
“However, even for one buck, the piracy rate is soooo giant, that we finally decided to provide DEAD TRIGGER for free.”
The statement ends with a note of regret, defending the use of IAPs by essentially saying that people don’t need to use them in order to enjoy the game to its full. “DEAD TRIGGER is not FREEMIUM,” it says. “It always was and still remains FREE-TO-PLAY, that means, all players are able to play it without IAP! We stand up for this statement, because all members of our team are playing (and enjoying) DEAD TRIGGER without IAP.”
Madfinger is just the latest in a long line of developers to publicly criticise Android for its high levels of piracy. In April this year Miles Jacobson from Sports Interactive claimed that the piracy rate for Football Manager on Android was 9 to 1 (one sale for 9 illegal downloads).
“There’s no working copy protection on the platform currently, so it’s pretty easy for someone to get it working,” Jacobsen told Eurogamer. “The platform is also very popular in some countries where there’s a larger piracy problem than in others. If [the game] doesn’t hit targets, then we won’t be doing another one for the platform – that’s a simple business decision though for a couple of months’ time.”
Of course, free-to-play games are not immune to piracy.
Boss Alien’s CSR Racing was targeted by Russian coder Alexey V. Borodin, who created an iOS exploit that allowed users to download in-app purchases for free. “It’s my hobby, and it’s a challenge to CSR Racing,” he said. “I set this up due to hungry and lazy developers. I was very angry to see that CSR Racing developer taking money from me every single breath.”