Android Users Don’t Want To Pay For Anything

    July 23, 2012

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]