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Piracy problems

07-11-2013, 03:41 AM
Joined: Jul 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 3,693
Originally Posted by andsoitgoes View Post
What percentage of the people who pirated the game would have ACTUALLY bought the game if they couldn't pirate it?
agree friends in the past would get anything that was available for free, weather it was some weird kids game or something odd they would never play. seems like they would test it, delete or just collect. knowing there game tastes i knew some just liked rpg, sports/fps and thats it - meaning they would never buy it (if different genre).
07-11-2013, 10:21 AM
Senior Member [Original Poster]
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Germany
Posts: 8,719
"What percentage of the people who pirated the game would have ACTUALLY bought the game if they couldn't pirate it?"

Imho, this question is completely irrelevant. It doesn't matter how much more would buy a game when piracy isn't an option. I'd guess there would be more sales, because there's no other option, but a discussion about sale numbers would be fruitless. But that question itself is already questionable. If people would stick to the law, there would be no need to ask such a question.

There's neither an excuse for piracy, nor are there "other sides" to take into account.
Piracy is software theft and software theft is, per definition, a criminal act.
It's wrong and you can't change it into a "wrong, but understandable". Trying to justify software theft in any way is a questionable behaviour. That's the reason why there's a chance that people get a label they don't want. Because other people are able to see that it is theft and look down on those who try to explain it as "not as bad as it seems, because...". People might remember in such cases about the saying "a guilty conscience needs no accuser".
Why would somebody defend something that is initially wrong?
A person that steals software is a criminal, no matter if that person is aware of that, or not. Ignorantia legis neminem excusat.
So what the heck happened to "common sense"?
I'd love to see someone trying to give a judge hundred excuses - or "other sides" - to consider, just before the judge tells him off and gives that person an appropriate punishment.

The only thing that is unfair: when you take something from a dev without paying the asked price.

Hi, you seemed to be lost on the Internets.
This is TouchArcade, where 2$ for a game is too much, 5$ is an outrage, and 10$ or more is putting sugar in their car tanks whilst killing puppies.

Last edited by Vovin; 07-11-2013 at 11:46 AM.
07-11-2013, 12:11 PM
Sup! Seth from Butterscotch Shenanigans here (Towelfight 2, Quadropus Rampage). Cool debate going on in this thread.

I won't really get into whether piracy "killed" our first game or caused it to fail (there's no way to know), but it did open up our eyes to one glaring fact: people generally aren't willing to pay for digital stuff if it's moderately easy not to. We see about a 95% piracy rate on Android and a 50% piracy rate on iOS with Towelfight 2, which is a $0.99 game.

So rather than consider pirates as "lost sales" or mope about how we could have done things differently, we read between the lines of our circumstance and went freemium with Quadropus Rampage. The transition has been a huge perspective shift for us -- and hugely beneficial in every measurable respect.

I have a feeling that many developers have learned the same lesson. The playerbase overwhelmingly wants things for free. So you can launch a paid app and complain that none of your players paid for it, or embrace the situation and swim with the current and (hopefully) survive.

Note: I admit that there are exceptions, but I'm just speaking about our experience as a two-man indie studio.
07-11-2013, 12:48 PM
Joined: Jun 2010
Location: In a van, down by the river!
Posts: 2,449
The point of the argument is not at justifying.

But it's putting the notion of "if people are pirating, it means those people are not buying my game" in perspective. Using, as you say, common sense and extrapolating things said by people such as mrbiggles, you'll see that no amount of justifying or condemning is going to change that thieves will steal anything just because they can, or to show they can. Did the thief need to steal my CD player AND my Propellerheads case that was a fair way away? No, but they did. Mind you, back then CDs had value and there were still countless dedicated music stores. Man, those were the days. Want to talk about less piracy.

But here's it broken down:

1) Piracy is wrong and too easy
2) People who pirate will pirate anything (mrbiggles confirms the experience I had when I read the blog of the kids game that not even my kids were that enthused with when I got it to review way back)
3) Seeing 59,000 pirated copies of a game doesn't mean that even 100 of those people would have purchased it.
4) The solution is what the Magnificent Seth has provided, well it's one option. Sell for free and have IAP. Pirates are probably one of the reasons why IAP is so prevalent on iOS. The problem with that mentality is that IAP is regarded as the thing developers put in to screw us over. Plus those that pirate do everything to subvert IAP as well.
5) If not 4, then DRM is the other option. I don't thing anyone wants to go there. Not devs, and not users.

Think of Piracy of all media as the Prohibition of this generation. Except the big difference is that piracy doesn't cause kidney failure or violent behaviour, but also has absolutely zero benefit to anyone. Ever. Even in moderation. Simply put, no matter how many walls are put up, people will be there to scale them.

GC: andsoitgoes
MP Games: Waterdeep
07-11-2013, 12:54 PM
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 2,264
And FYI, IAP's are still hackable by pirates. Ever heard of the Russian hacker who has managed to hack iap for both iOS & android? Well he's done it. Free iap, terrible.
07-11-2013, 02:24 PM
Indeed, IAPs are very hackable. Through our analytics we can see that an overwhelming majority of our in-app purchases are actually hacked. Upwards of 85%. However, making our game free means we have much more exposure and a larger user base in general, so we can mitigate the hacking by volume much easier.