Game developers are on the forefront of the piracy debate. They have more to lose than any other industry as their game is the only thing keeping them afloat. That's why it was pretty damning of the Android platform last week when Dead Trigger developer, Madfinger Games, said that piracy forced the Android version to go free-to-play. Another developer doesn't necessarily agree.
Chris Pruett, developer of Wind-Up Knight, spoke out on Twitter about the problem of piracy on mobile devices. His experience is actually contrary to Madfinger Games in that his games were actually pirated more on iOS and still continue to be pirated more on Apple's platform.
Lotta press about Android piracy lately. For the record, our piracy rate is about 12% on Android and about 15% on iOS.
When Wind-up Knight for iOS was a paid app, the piracy rate was more like 80%.
In the case of Madfinger Games, the iOS version of Dead Trigger is still a paid app. They never released piracy numbers, but they said that the piracy rate on the Android version was "giant." Dead Trigger is a pretty popular, but it's also new. Wind-Up Knight has been a popular game for a while and the iOS piracy rate when it was a paid app is pretty staggering.
Pruett's experience compared to Madfinger Games isn't meant to start some kind of Android vs. iOS war over piracy rates. It's different for every developer and every game. You can't just generalize the piracy problem according to platform because it affects each platform differently. As for solutions, Pruett has some ideas:
I think piracy is, as always, a red herring. You can't stop it, but as long as it's slightly arduous, it's not a lot of lost sales.
Because a huge number of people who pirate software would never buy it in a million years. You aren't losing a sale to them.
Piracy starts to matter only when pirate users can cost you money in other ways, e.g. network bandwidth and server cost.
Yet another reason to be a free app in today's mobile marketplace.
On a final note, Pruett mentions that the majority of people who pirate his game are from one geographic location. Can you guess where?
Also, for both Android and iOS, close to 100% of our pirate users are in China. Those users can't buy things on Android anyway.