Android Users Don’t Want To Pay For Anything

    July 23, 2012
    Zach Walton
    Comments are off for this post.

Google does a lot of things right, but there is one thing that they consistently get wrong – gaming. Sure, the games on Android are nice, but nobody can make money. We’ve had reports of developers dropping support for Android after finding that nobody buys their games. Now we’re seeing new evidence that people are playing games on Android, but they’re just not paying for them.

Indie game developer, Madfinger Games, recently launched Dead Trigger on Android. The game is a zombie FPS that’s supported by in-app content purchasing. It was originally on sale for the super low price of $0.99, but has now gone free-to-play. Why? Here’s what the developer had to say on a Facebook post:


Regarding price drop. HERE is our statement. 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. – However, even for one buck, the piracy rate is soooo giant, that we finally decided to provide DEAD TRIGGER for free. Anyway – DEAD TRIGGER is not FREEMIUM, 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.

The problem stems from Android being an open platform. It’s ridiculously easy to root a phone and it becomes easy to pirate content from there. The same could be said of iOS, but Apple at least makes it difficult to jailbreak an iPhone compared to rooting an Android phone. That’s why you see the piracy rates on Android being far higher than they are on iOS.

There’s still money to be had in the Android scene, but you have to be on Amazon’s marketplace to have any realistic shot at making the kind of money that iOS developers make. Even then, the stiff competition on all the platforms make it hard for any developers beyond a select few to make any money anyway.

Regardless, piracy is still a major problem on Google’s platform and they must address it. They need content on Google Play to convince people that Android is something worth developing for. That’s why Google put App Encryption in the recent release of Jelly Bean:

App encryption: From Jelly Bean and forward, paid apps in Google Play are encrypted with a device-specific key before they are delivered and stored on the device. We know you work hard building your apps. We work hard to protect your investment.

There’s still a lot of people on Android 2.2 to 4.0, however, and they’re part of the problem. Google needs to step up its game to protect these developers who pour their resources into making games for the platform. If not, it’s going to have a negative impact on the recently announced Android game console, Ouya. Why would people pay money for games when they can just crack the console and pirate all the games for free?

[h/t: The Guardian]

  • Robert

    Sadly, you can NEVER stop piracy. Make a new encryption routine and they will break it. However piracy is so low that it is usually accounted for when releasing a game on the market.

  • http://www.frogdice.com Michael Hartman

    Google is reaping the whirlwind for their stupid decision to not force handset makers to keep Android updated to the latest version.

  • reltk

    You can’t stop piracy. Deal with it.

    • chillin chum

      So, you are saying that developers should let people steal thier games? (sincerity mode)
      Piracy may not always be stealing, but it very easily can become so, and stealing is not right at all. (duh)

  • http://www.techflashed.com TechFlashed

    I guess no one wants to pay if one can get it free .

  • Amir

    android has a higher market share
    but more than half of the iphone owners i know are jailbroken and pirate apps, and on the android side only the half assed apps get pirated by my friends (you do not need root to pirate most android apps, and too many android devs make a crap game and want $7 or charge $3 but you only get half a game, and the rest through IAP, not to mention even adds sometimes) so ofcourse there stuff gets pirated, you act greedy so don’t get mad that people won’t pay.
    i don’t agree with piracy, but i don’t agree with shoddy dev work asking for a premium price either.

  • Johnson

    My goodness the main problem IS NOT PIRACY. I’m a developer and because most apps on Android are free, many people think I’m a cheapskate because I put the app I worked so hard with on the market for 99 cents. Apples App Store requires you to add your credit card making it easier to purchase. My sister is an Android user and absolutely refuses to purchase any app on Android, yet has no problem buying games on her iPad.