Dead Trigger

This morning Madfinger Games took to Facebook to explain why it lowered Dead Trigger from 99 cents to free. The reasoning? Rampant piracy. "Unbelievably high" piracy, actually. "The piracy rate is soooo giant," the developer continued.

One thing, though: We have absolutely no idea what that means. 

There always will be piracy. It's unfortunate, but the fact remains that so long as applications can be stolen, they will be stolen. We wish that wasn't the case. How many people stole the 99-cent Dead Trigger? Raise your hands if you dare. Was it 10 instances? One hundred? One thousand? Dead Trigger is currently in the 100,000 to 500,000 download range on its Google Play listing. We've e-mailed Madfinger Games in hopes of getting some more details on this. If 1,000 instances of piracy were noted, that's just 1 percent of the minimum total downloads. We've got an e-mail in to Madfinger seeking some details. 

Here's Madfinger's complete statement on moving Dead Trigger to free:

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.

This is important just as it's important in the television industry, where piracy also is a real issue (though more self-inflicted, we'd argue). The vast majority of Android users out there, we presume, don't download pirated apps. 

Anyway. Kudos to Madfinger for making a great game even greater by making it free -- not that 99 cents should have kept anyone away. But let's hope the next time the piracy card is played, we see some numbers to back it up.

Source: Facebook


Reader comments

How high is 'unbelievably high' piracy? Dead Trigger dev's not saying


Pathetic. What's the justification for pirating a $1 game? Being broke? Not having a CC attached to your Google Play account? Selfishness? I just don't get it. Do people not see how this hurts us all in the long run? I want my kids to have the opportunity to enjoy great games like I did when I was growing up.

First of all, you should all know that the world does not revolve around the USA. I come from a 3rd world country, Kenya(I wish it was not but...fate :( ). It is with that in mind that I shall go ahead and list why people pirate games:
No payment system: In most 3rd world and I dare say some 2nd world countries, things like visa and paypal are almost none existant. Most banks charge exorbitantly high fees for use of your debit card (*note, we use debit cards) on international purchases. For example, if I bought the game at 1 dollar, they would have charged me 4-5dollars for the transaction.

there are no strong piracy laws here. We believe that if you have an internet connection, everything should be free...movies, series, games, books e.t.c. to the point that bootleg copies are sold on the street with authorities actually licencing such businesses. Now tell me how are you going to sell a game to people like this who believe piratebay is their God given right?

The proliferation of android into the global market means more and more people have access to android smart phones. They may not be the dualcores and the quadcores that "you" may be used to. But either way, in an economy where 80% of the population live on one dollar a day, convincing anyone to buy an android game will be short of a miracle!

And no, I did not pirate the game. Am still waiting on my Galaxy nexus to be shipped. Then I would have pirated the game if it was still for sale

Those are not good reasons to steal. And... let's be real --- if you can afford a smartphone you can afford a $0.99 application.

He isn't saying those are good reasons to steal. That's just what it's like in other countries, which gives more incentive to pirates to steal.

He is so saying those are good reasons to steal, and he said he would pirate this in a heartbeat as soon as his tablet arrives.

*Correction. Galaxy nexus, not nexus 7. The point is that the way the system is structured, it becomes too expensive to buy a 99cent game. I get some games on steam...coz the 40-50dollar purchase justifies the 10dollars the bank is going to hit me up for
Plus there is no legal framework to curb this

The very first step to avoid piracy is make it easy to purchase, both on price and ways to pay for it. I agree totally with the Kenya guy. On 2nd or 3rd world countries most people don't use credit cards, for a number of reasons. In my country, Brazil, the most common way to pay for internet purchases is by what we call "boleto bancário", it's a piece of paper with a unique bar code regarding your transition. This way people pay upfront on any ATM. This is easy.

Making a credit card and maintaining it, is not that easy. Google could allow people to buy "gift cards" with multiple upfront payment methods. This won't fix piracy, but will help reduce it.

Love your blog post. Honestly I feel like "Android Piracy" is ALWAYS just a scapegoat because piracy is just as rampant on iOS, the gateway being Jailbreaking and getting Installous put on the phone. The iOS Black Market is just as bad as any other. There are ways you can prevent Piracy on Android, especially with Jelly Bean coming out.

Thanks. :) As lots of other people have mentioned, there are lots of reasons piracy can happen on any platform. The important thing is to find the real customers and engage them in a meaningful way. Looking at every piratical copy as a stolen sale is not going to be beneficial for MadFinger in the long run.

People who pirate are seldom your real customers and even less often your lost sale. They are normally a sale that never would have happened, though honestly that does make it more like shoplifting. The only difference is you aren't losing the money from the now missing merchandise, so a lot of people justify it that way.

The number one way to prevent piracy is fair pricing for an amazing product. If you throw in great service as well, incentives for buying it, etc, then people would rather buy than steal. The problem is that it's easier to punish than to reward.

// There are ways you can prevent Piracy on Android, especially with Jelly Bean coming out

Not really, the "new" licensing system is a joke (just bring your device offline and it is not able to check if the software was purchased or not), and even like that any app can be easily cracked for licensing check removal, in app billing bypassing and even ads removal. The fact that it is made in Java, essentially interpreted rather compiled, makes the cracking all the faster and easier.

I'm an Android developer anyway with software in the Google's Play Store, and I do agree that "Android Piracy" is a killer for any developer - one developer in a million might get lucky and get some money out of it though, but generally if the project ain't open source and it does have a commercial goal, it simply ain't worth the effort.

My point was that the cost of buying a 99cent game goes beyond 5dollars. I have lots of friends with s2's, HTC's and the like, but most of them bought their phones on student loans or saving for a few months.
That person is not going to pay for any game. Period!

If your're using that to justify why some people pirate then that's not a good thing. MadFinger Games took the high approach of making the game free another developer might make the low approach, not available in certain countries. So now that some people are doing it whole areas are penalized.

My friend, if they make it unavailable in certain countries, we still pirate. Torrents know no boundary! My last phone was a galaxy s. I was playing hot pursuit and guess what, it was not available in my country!

What I think Google should do is look for innovative solutions for selling payments.
For example, in my country, mobile payments (that is sending and receiving cash on your phone) are pretty big. They could use that and get lots of people on board.

Legislation is another thing all together. With the high levels of corruption in my government, we rule that one out

Maybe I'm biased because I am a developer so to me there is no way you can truly justify pirating to me, I love android I really do but things like this is why some of us decide not to even bother with the platform. That being said ios also has a problem with pirating but not to the extent android does. There is a flaw in the system and I believe that as an android user we will pay for it in the end. We'll start to see new forms of DRM come about and they will be intrusive and absurd. A good example of pirating affecting game dev decisions is infinity blade epic came fourth and said the reason they are not on android is piracy and that was months ago. You say that a $1 app may turn into $5 when you pay for them but before I was a game developer if I wanted to buy a game and it was too expensive I did something it's called SAVING. Yes I saved my money because it was something I truly wanted I didn't pirate the app because it was out of my reach. The fact of the matter is unless you develop software or anything that is distributed highly then you won't know how it feels when someone pirates from you. The hours we put into coding, building, and the various other things that go into the development of apps just for someone to take our work it's painful just to talk about. I'm not here to rant, pirating it's your decision I can't stop you but before you do next time think about what it truly means when you pirate

Well lets put it this way. I do download a TON of games. Some free some not. alot i get from the pirate sites and end up paying for them. I have over $200 in paid apps that i PAID for. Alot of the games came from these pirate sites. without them i prob would have never heard of some of these games. and when i love a game i usually let people know about them free or not. meaning more sales for devs. While most will say pirating is bad some will even tell you its a good thing. Since most of the games i downloaded i never even heard of or never would have.. meaning that is not a lost sale if i downloaded it. But i personally think the excuse madfinger gave was complete bull. i mean maybe we should all start pirating there games since if they get a high number we can get the games for free! that's the only lesson i have learned here.

You saved up for the phone, yet are too cheap for another $5. Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic and there is no excuse for you to do it.

IMO the difference between average 3rd world mobile phone users and those from Western countries is that it would probably really hurt the former to spend $0.79, or $5 for that matter, on a mobile phone application whereas for a typical citizen of a Western country it would be a simple yes/no decision without any further consequences. As the OP said, if you really do live on one dollar a day, then buying an app would mean to dispense with more important things, like food for instance.

Of course, all that is strictly speaking no reason to pirate an app because you could simply argue that, after all, it's just a game and if you can't afford it, then you just can't have it. But look at the model of the AppStore, isn't that a system adapted to Western lifestyle and, really, can you blame someone who grew up in an entirely different system for simply taking what they can get? Don't forget that's just the way humans are, especially people from Western countries.

I, for one, applaud you for being honest and explaining the situation as it is in other places of the world. I guarantee you a ton of the users here - including myself - didn't know at least something in your comment, but they just don't want to admit it to you. I think, these days, it's too easy to accidentally think the world views things as we do in our own country. Your comment was really interesting - thanks!

hey man are you really from Africa? or you are just pretending to be from Africa, so you can blame it on Africa. By the way you stand with your words" is either you are lying or you are working for MADFINGER. If you can buy a Galaxy Nexus mobile phone I don't see reason you can buy a common 99cent game for that matter.
If it's the case of the bank, I think you should either change your banking institute; and go for a bank that offer a cheaper international transaction fee. Every bank charge for international fee but some bank charge less.

As much as you want to believe your country is a factor, it's most likely not. I don't really see Madfinger blaming Kenya for anything. The piracy rate may be higher in your country and other third world countries but the actual number of people pirating are higher in developing/developed nations.

Interesting concept. What if I for instance worked at the place where your nexus is being shipped from. I take your money, but then what the hell, I keep the nexus. Everyones happy right? I get a free nexus and you dont mind as its all part of your culture? Of course when the authors and writers of apps, books, music decide that there is no point in releasing anything to Kenya as there are no payments coming in, wont you be the poorer for it?

I've heard a lot of the arguments from people, and I will admit that I have downloaded some paid apps outside of the Play Store in the past. That said, it was one analogy that really changed everything for me.

How much do you spend at lunch on average? $6, $10? If you get a coffee in the morning how much did it cost you? $3,4,5? When you put a $0.99 app into perspective against the items that we purchase on impulse constantly it is completely ridiculous we even fret over buying apps. After that, I buy apps all the time now.

If you have never seen this comic before, I suggest giving it a read:

The reason there are so many android activations per day as opposed to Apple iPhone is that it is a MUCH cheaper phone.

It's proliferates in third-world countries where:

1) People don't have the great payment systems available to you and me.
2) Most Paid apps are not even available (and will never be) for purchase in the App store (Due to trade reasons or financial reasons).
3) The Apps are not priced according to local costs. I the US a small meal for my family costs $40... In other countries that can feed a family for a month. That does not make sense.
4) When people have a hungry child to feel, (debatable) intelectual property ownership laws #firstworldproblems don't really feature highly.

Now you can go ahead and say: "But stealing is stealing!"

But local laws and customs may not be the same... the RIAA only wishes it controlled ALL the governments in the world.

Sure you want movie studios to stay profitable so that nice new movies/apps etc. get produced. But the truth is that those people really don't give a rat's ass about poorer countries and would not lift a finger since those people don't really register as a blip on the financial radar.

It is not a problem that will go away. And I don't condone stealing as well.. but your attitude is just so first-world that it kinda proves the point.

a weeks worth of groceries!? where do you live? i live in california, USA and $40 will barely get you any good groceries, $40 worth will probably only get you 1 or 2 days worth of food or depending on the store one or two SMALL meals. a single 24 pack of arrowhead water is about $4.99 and one pack of steak between $3-$4 depending on the size/weight. $40 wouldnt cut it for a family =\

Bull. $40 can get you a ton of food, certainly more than 1-2 meals. At least, if you're not eating friggin' steak every night (really!? Was that really the example used for every day??)

I say Bull to your Bull! how much can you actually buy for a family with only $40 that will last longer than two meals? unless your African and being supported by americans in the "Feed the Children" program where you can support a family for "10 cents a day", then you cant POSSIBLY buy a WEEKS worth of food with $40 for a family.

Well, let's see... The farmers market i go to, the one farm sells 12 large green bell peppers for $4, 3 dozen small peaches for $4, Banana Peppers for $1.50 a container, Tomatoes for $2 / lb, Onions @ $3 for 4-5 medium sized ones, garlic for a buck; another stand has a whole quiche of bread for $5, ground meats for $6 / lb, Filet Mignon for $20 / lb (if but usually are sold in packs of 4-8oz), Lettuce for $7.00 / lb (and a pound of lettuce is ridiculous), and various other things for cheap as well.. you see where i am going with this. If you're spending $40 on steak and water, you're not shopping smart enough. I frequently buy way too much at the market, and two weeks ago spent $60 and and still eating food from that one trip! If you buy boxed and pre-packaged meals, that will kill ya.

I'm not going to address your opinion on the costs of food in the US, as another poster has outlined exactly what you need to do to save money, but your comment about being "African" supported by "americans" is extremely bigoted.

ok, first things first...please for the love of God make sure that the money you donate goes to a good charity, otherwise it just gets lost in the management.
Here's a rundown of my daily budget, in dollars
Breakfast: Bread(47cents) + Milk half a litre(35cents)= 82 cents
Lunch: Ugali(stable food here) + meat =1.50 dollars
Supper: Rice+fried meat=2dollars
total daily spending on food is 5dollars

So yes, 40 dollars will easily see me to the end of the week

Be careful about bringing out the "much cheaper phone" claim -- it's only partly true.

Remember, Apple sells the iPhone 3GS for under $400 contract-free, and it's often completely free on contract. The lower Android costs only come in when you're looking at truly entry-level Android phones. Those mostly come into play in mainland China and other developing parts of the world. It's increasingly an issue for Apple, but most sales still skew towards 'first world' countries where the price gap is a non-issue.

I've liberated a few android games before (one of which was NOVA 2). The games were all ones I did not have the hardware for. I was borrowing a dev tablet and Nexus S we had at work and I wanted to check out how using a tablet for a game felt. When I returned the tablet I made sure to uninstall the games so they wouldn't be floating around. The reason I mention NOVA 2 is because about a month later I got a new phone that could support that game at which point I went and bought it from the play store (I haven't bought the other game I have not mentioned because it really needs a tablet to play well which I don't own yet. As soon as I get a tablet I'm definitely going to go and buy the other game too).

This doesn't bode well for other great apps coming to Android.

What happened to the app encryption they were talking about i/o?

Google has got to do something about piracy.

FYI Google IS doing something about this. The device specific encryption of paid applications will work for everything 2.3 and higher. This will put a pretty good dent in piracy if it is implemented correctly.

"Despite the fact that Jelly Bean provides a way for developers to encrypt their apps on a per-device level, the implementation will sit largely unused until Android 4.1 hits a critical mass of people, something that if Gingerbread is any indication won’t happen for another 18 to 24 months."

more likely this has to do with not being able to access paid apps in other markets than anything else. My first reaction was "What the Heck?" "Why would someone do this for a $.99 game?" However, on reflection, i suspect some people wanted to play a great game in a market where they can't buy this application.

This right here. Would love to have the developer show some stats breaking piracy down by country and seeing if the piracy rate is much higher (perhaps "unbelievably high") in countries that don't have ANY legal way to get the app anyway.

I'm a little dumbfounded by this. I purchased the .99 app and even threw in another .99 for an in-app-purchase. So now I'm 2 bucks into something that is now free. :/

The in-app is not going to be free. So you are out a whole 99cents for being too impatient on your first purchase. Somehow I think you will survive.

I purchased the app for .99 when it first came out, and I just requested a refund for it today (under report a problem) and just got it refunded.

Pirating a 1$ game is just lame, everyone can afford it.
I have pirated some games myself, but only the really expensive ones to try them out beyond the 15 minutes refund time.

If your definition of "being able to afford an Android phone" is putting almost the entire monthly paycheck into buying a phone because it became an inevitable choice to survive as the society--yes, even in "those" third world countries--is rapidly adopting mobile technologies and evolving around them, hence you need one to get a job, to work, to do banking, or to do anything you can come up with, yes, they CAN afford it.

With a refund time in 15 minutes, after downloading all the extra files, you haven't got much time left to try the game

Then blame the developer. The Play Store allows developers to upload much larger files now. Your 15 minutes don't start until all the files are downloaded. If the developer requires you to download stuff when you first run the game, than that is his or her fault.

Either way, it is still pirating.

I've done the same thing as Benny. Pirated an app to check it out for longer than the ridiculous 15 minute trial time. If I liked the app I bought it, if not I scrapped it. In the end, the developer still got paid.

I think they did the right thing. If there is IAP, why bother charging for the game? This is like the recent squabble direct tv and viacom had. but in the end, viacom realized that direct tv had a ton of viewers and in the end, they will make there money in ad sales. personally i think more things should be free, thats why android does so well, its open sourced and free meaning more people will come to the platform/game. But IAP and you pay for the game, I find that a crime. or the purchase of a game only to find they still have ads in them.
I give this developer props

They do need to do something about it. I love the ability to sideload apps, but piracy is a huge drawback...they need to add something to it. Bad enough iOS apps are already more profitable, but this story will spread like wildfire and reflect badly on Android.

Although I question the "we'd rather make no money by offering it for free than (apparently) $100,000k - $500,000k mentality"....don't really see the point of giving it away for free.

Wait, you didn't read between the lines....

They don't need to do anything about it, because the Devs can already detect it (how else would they know about massive piracy) and fail to let the app work IF THEY SO CHOOSE.

The game calls home!

They didn't bother to shut it down because they were planning to make money via in-app purchases all along. You only get a taste of the game before you have to buy something in-app to enjoy it to the fullest.

Very clever, if not somewhat disingenuous, to now come out with self-congratulatory stories about how pirated they were, when the game-plan from the beginning was probably to milk some money out of the release, then quickly drop the price to free and make money on in-game upgrades.

i can second this ,and the in app purchases were the reason for allot of people.
admiting also for me to pirate the app.though now i dont have to pirate it any more.

stil not gona buy in app stuf

This is a great theory. I'm not a huge game player but reading this article and seeing the comments and how much this game was stolen made me think that it must be good and now that it's free, I thought about downloading. Perfect "free" advertising.

For an app counting on making money via In-App purchases, they seem to be using this as an excuse for charging ANY money up front.

People are reporting that it will cost you around 25 bucks to buy all the in-app upgrades. So why bother collecting 99 cents only to immediately waive that charge after they got all the free blog-vertising from every Android site in the web?

Sad that people bother to pirate a 99cent app.

This is nothing more than an attempt to by MadFinger to make themselves a public victim. No one forced their hand in this, so people need to stop acting like the bad ol' pirates went to their houses and held a gun to their head.

So what if people pirate the game? It was obviously still profitable if it had reached the 100k download mark on the market! By making it free they've lost any chance of getting money out of it now, and to what end? To teach people a lesson? No, so that every tech website out there will report on this. This kind of dev serves no other purpose than to tarnish the already shoddy reputation Android users have of being unwilling to pay for apps. It's simply not true.

Shame on MadFinger.

Thank you. At least someone here sees through the deception.

The game plan was always that it would use in-app sales to make money. Even Phil's last sentence suggests he's skeptical as well.

Do you have ANY idea how much it would cost to make a game like this? at 100k downloads at 99c they would be lucky to even be braking even. Seriously I doubt that figure even comes close to being near how much this cost to develop, i would estimate twice that at a MINIMUM!

As a software engineer for all of my adult life I can tell you that 100K downloads probably paid off the entire incremental development expense of this game.

Look, those guys have been at this for quite a while. This isn't their first game.

They have their game engine developed, paid for, and in the can. They can slap new games together without having to start from scratch each time, just by hanging new artwork, designing new levels, minor tweaks to controls, etc.

The first game is hard. From then on they fall out in rapid succession.

Team of three, 4 to 6 months is my best guess.

They made that back in the first month of paid app sales, and that doesn't even consider what they made in in-app purchases.

Don't quite follow your assumption... 3 guys working 4 months would cost about $100K ($75k salary + 25% for benefits / 3 x 3 ). With google taking 30% of the play store purchases, they are actually underwater just from a staffing standpoint. That's not including overhead, and more importantly, profit margin..

I do and I fail to see how your point has anything to do with mine. If anything it just proves that they're telling the media the game was pirated so much that they caved in. But if you think about it logically, how could that possibly work for them?

Hey guys, do you know people outside USA need a International Credit Card to buy anything on Google Play? And this is the only way to buy?
I have several friends that don't have a international CC and want to buy apps, but they have zero options, so, in this case, piracy is the only way they can get any paid app.

I paid the 99¢ but not mad about it. Can't hardly get anything that cheap these days let alone an awesome game.

Hey, I'm down with piracy when it involves media from the MPAA/RIAA who abuse and rob artists and try to shut down alternative legal sources to keep a stranglehold on the industry. If an artist Tries to go elsewhere they'll be boycotted and never go above Indy grade. But stealing a 99 cent game from a small studio is just plain weak sauce. The only way I would think it would be acceptable would be if you live in a region where PLAY won't allow you to download. In that case you wouldn't be paying them anyway.

This is a sick way to grab attention, and it's only harming the Android community as a whole. No developer in history of ever has been so trampled and defeated by piracy that they just said "you know what, I quit. Have it for free guys!" Imagine if Microsoft did this with Windows, or if Ubisoft suddenly said "screw it, we lost."

They went for an immediate cash grab of having a zombie game on the store, and they priced it for the sweet spot of $.99. As soon as sales came to a slowdown, it was time to roll out the piracy victim story.
Simple fact is, you can't charge for a pay-to-win game TWICE. Pick your cash out point, it's very crappy to milk your customers at both ends.

Sorry, no kudos from me for a Dev throwing Android under a bus as a PR play to grow the funnel for users to make in app purchases. They had sales in the 100-500 thousand range before this announcement. If this wasn't enough for them then perhaps double dipping put some users off, or technical issues with previous games or they overestimated the demand for Zombie destruction (surely not possible ;)).

I have paid for three of their titles (Shadow gun twice as the THD one kept crashing and the normal one didn't so much). Regretting doing so now and will likely avoid this Dev in the future, as I find the inference that Android users are dishonest insulting. With 400 million Android devices in use I find it difficult to believe that the communities propensity to pay for products worth buying is any different to society as a whole. Totally unimpressed with this FUD.

Agreed. I bought Shadowgun due to its popularity. I won't deny it's impressive for a mobile device, but I suspect Madfinger is really showing their true colors with all the crap surrounding Dead Trigger. Off the top of my head, they released it at $0.99 under the guise of being on a discount. It didn't support anything with an Adreno 205 (which is a lot of devices) and they waited until this update to do anything about it, w/o even any communication. Their original response was that there were "major issues with this device". NO offers for a refund or anything, even though by the time you tried it out you were past the 15 min refund window. Then, DT is heavy into IAPs. Now they mark it down to free because they realize can make more off of IAPs and still don't address the loyal fans who paid them. Ugh.

i think its just there way of trying to get people off their backs and put it on someone else. i dont think the piracy rate was that high. i think they just put it for 99 cents to get some extra dough and got enough complaints about it being 99 cents and having in app purchases so they finally said "eh screw it. we already got a couple thousand people to pay for it. lets make up an excuse as to why we wont refund their money. ahh piracy! yes!"

+1 They realized they f'd up by releasing it as a paid app and/or their early adopter rate dropped off so nobody else was buying at $0.99 after word spread of all the IAPs.

Define Piracy please. If I purchase an app for .99, and then use it on my other two same google account devices, is it considered pirating?

I highly doubt it, although I see what your getting at. I also bought once, installed on all 4 of my devices. Numerous times (i.e. more than 4)

But your analogy doesn't apply here.
This is how Google Play works (same with Apple's stores for that matter).

No, that is perfectly legal and within the terms of the Google market.

Taking a backup of the app and Sideloading it onto your friend's tablet would be piracy.

I bought the game right at launch. I was surprised that it costs much less than Shadowgun.

Speaking of In-app Purchases, does anyone know if those purchases are restored if you wipe your phone? I've seen a few titles flash "restoring purchases" for a split second (although I can't remember which). I'm curious of this does the same or if it will be like Wind-up Knight.

MadFinger makes some excellent games. I have purchased 3 and highly respect the products they put out. But this claim stinks to high hell. What does making your game free have to do with piracy? If your product is being stolen, you don't then cut off your revenue source to combat the piracy.

many people as myself are not buying anything on Google Play because they do only offer CreditCard as payment and I simply do not have one, in the US and UK everyone has a CC but in other countries very little people use them and that is where I live… no no revenue from me and other…
but I wonder who brought DEADTRIGGER in the first place when the concept of the game is making it insanely hideous to play without in AppPurchases…

Paid 99 cents for the game. paid another 99 cents for 200 gold to buy back the rifle. Have more than enough gold to buy a ton more weapons. I say that 2 bucks for a great looking & fun game is money well spent. (I DO think they should give 200 free gold(.99 cents) to anyone who actually purchased the game, now that it is free)

What the article fails to account for is whose to say all those piracy numbers would have resulted in sales? Pirating a game for 10 cents or 100 dollars is a moot argument.

No one knows how many of those pirated copies are still being played. Were they just to try the game and then a sale came or did not come from it?

I love how IOS is free of blame from this. Everyone has a JB iphone. Not everyone knows you can pirate on android. Please.

That's generally correct. Nobody knows if they would have purchased it or not. However, that does not "okay" the action. Outside of that, this problem could be easily corrected (well... shrunken down) if Google (and Apple) would introduce longer trial periods (or in Apple's case...just offer it to begin with) on the refund window. It seems fair that Google/Apple introduce, say, 30 minutes to an hour for someone to try out the game and allow those people a one-time refund if they decide they don't want the game within that timeframe and uninstall the application. Or, maybe the could just implement a IAP alert that goes off after a given time prompting someone to purchase the game if they wish to continue. If they say no, the game closes and the application no longer boots passed a certain point without a purchase. Let's be straight here... it doesn't take that long to determine if the game (or any app, really) is a keeper. Just ideas that seem fair to all...

This game has been alot of fun, and despite being free now, I dropped 2 bucks on it for IAPs. I dont mind IAP, and well it was only 2 bucks. Support your Devs!

The people pirating it have to be so unbelievably dumb. Really pisses me off. Don't people understand that developers need money to make great games? I personally can't wait until we get some heavy DRM for Android apps.

Good luck trying to get me to buy a Madfinger game within the first month or two that it is available since they might pull the old switcharoo and make the game free. Yeah, its only a buck, but its a buck I could have done something else with.

Anyways, good luck with those pirates Madfinger. Any word on a patch to fix the JB issues? That would be wonderful.

" always was and still remains FREE-TO-PLAY..."

So it was always free, but used to cost 99 cents?

Was there like an ad-based free version?

When someone says "free-to-play," the words you need to hear are "expensive to keep playing." It never means anything else. I'd rather just pay $5 up-front and get to play a whole game designed to be fun on its own merits, rather than one designed to squeeze as much cash out of users as possible.

Good point Phil..
And what was the logic behind making the app free anyways? Some people are getting the pirated version, so let's make it free for everyone, take a loss and blame android in the process?
Haven't heard of the game before and won't be trying it now for sure.

Somehow I'm just not buying it. What did shadow run not suffer from piracy, what about Samarui? Yet Dead Trigger does so they release for free? Why isn't ShadowGun or Samarui available for free?

People where upset because they released a paid game with IAP. So they responded by releasing it free. Now people where upset because they lost $1. So they blame pirates for the reason to drop the price and relieve them of bad publicity.

I think that is poor marketing and bad on them. Instead of them just making things right they insult Android users by calling them pirates.

Exactly. Shadowgun and Samurai must have been pirated 1000 times more than dead trigger. People were upset with iAP so Devs got this idea of blaming on Piracy to make it free. Now that it's free, folks will spend on iAP.

Well I didn't think it would run on my phone so I never bought it even though it was getting such good reviews/press. For free I see it works well on my phone and I'll give it a thorough try and who knows maybe I'll buy some in-app stuff (unlikely).

This (for me) points out the stupidity of the shortened return policy. If I had a decent amount of time I may have given it a try before now.

Could this be that game sales were leveling off and so this is there way to get it into more people's hands to get those non-freemium addons? They certainly are getting good press - I'm sure tons of Apple folks are looking down their noses at the unwashed Android masses.

It's called murphys law. Everytime I buy an app, withing 1-2 weeks, it either goes FREE or is heavily discounted lol. So is life, but I am glad that I pay for all my apps. Thus allowing developers to create and keep their apps up to date.

I do believe however that when I buy app, a developer keeps their app up to date with bugfixes and upgrades. Still waiting on my Dead Trigger JB fix.

I paid a lot of money for my Galaxy Nexus. I want some of the best apps for it. I'm ok with paying $1 for a product that I feel gives me enjoyment and/or fills a need.

I also think about the devs who put so much time and effort into creating the app (I'm sympathetic because I too am a dev, but not for mobile).

It really is sad that payment systems aren't more globally accepted (as the gentleman above from Kenya stated). But, yeah, what is the correct way of getting an app that you can't get legally due to geographic location? I'm not saying that pirating is condoned, but in certain situations it seems like the only way.

I guess it's an ecosystem issue. Let's hope it matures quickly. We need more devs putting more effort into android development instead of running from it.

my 2cents.

I bought the 99 cent day it was free lol. Glad I bought it though because it's a great game and they deserve the money

I bought dead trigger on release and also shadow gun. But as a result of this I have removed both games from my devices and will no longer support madfinger games in the future. Way to douche it up madfinger.

I feel no sympathy for the people who paid $.99 before it went free. Hey, that's life. Sometimes you lose and sometimes you make out. It all balances out in the end.

I also don't blame Madfinger Games for pricing it at $.99 and selling between 100,000-500,000 copies. They probably felt they needed to determine if IAPs were going to generate enough revenue. Until then, they would charge $.99 to hedge their bets, and people bought it hand-over-fist. I don't think they should be criticized for dropping the price. Remember, it's always easier to drop the price afterwards, as opposed to launching it free and then raising it to $.99 if the IAPs didn't pan out.

I have briefly played the game. Can it even be beaten without spending extra in IAP? If no, then why would people pirate it if they can't purchase anything in the game in order to beat it?

Finally, I think another reason people pirate is because Google has been too slow to offer in-store prepaid cards for Google Play. You can go into any CVS or Lowes etc and see racks of prepaid cards for Amazon or iTunes... yet nothing for Google Play. People who don't have credit cards simply aren't given much choice.

Double crossing loyal customers by making it free just 2 weeks after release is not a good business practice. Neither is charging for an app and making it almost unbeatable without IAP's.

I would have no problem with them releasing a free ad supported version, but their excuse for robbing around 50,000 people of their dollar was "People are robbing us!".

Phil, first of all I love the site, the podcast and you as a person. I consider you commendable in most of your actions and a stand up guy. Now, regarding this post. You seem to think that 1000 apps stolen is near the max possible but I disagree wholeheartedly. I highly doubt that this company would start selling this game for for free for anything less than a roughly 20% piracy rate if not more, especially considering the shear number of android devices out there. Please let me know what you think.

That's the point, the dev hasn't said anything. They just used sensationalist statements to demean the Android platform as a whole without really explaining the logic behind "stealing" back the app from the customers who paid for it.

The app looks like it was supposed to be Free To Play from the start and they charged .99 cents to get a quick buck.

I think you haven't offered a shred of evidence for your view point.

You seem to hand waive the whole in-app-purchase scan away.

I call BS. I think a more likely reason is that they are trying to get as many people as possible access to their in app payments.

I Wish I Had Pirated This Game Before Spending A Dollar. When I Purchased It, I Was Unaware Of The Freemium Style In-App Purchases. Had I Known From Reading The Description (Which Didn't Mention It) I Would Never Had Purchased It In The First Place. To Add Insult To Injury, They Make It Free Later Which It Should Have Been In The First Place. This Is The Last MadFinger Game I Will Ever Buy.

I Admit To Pirating Apps Sometimes. I Have An HTC EVO 3D Which Is Very Finicky With Many Apps. I May Download An App And If My Phone Plays Nice With It, I Will Purchase It. Some Apps Take Forever To Download On WiFi And The Refund Window Is Very Short. Also, Some Apps Are Outrageously High In Price. Sometimes I'll Try (Pirate) And Buy If I Feel The Purchase Is Worth It. Demos Would Remove That Need Altogether, As I Could Try A Brief Sample Of What A Highly Priced App Has To Offer And See If It Plays Nice With My Finicky Phone. MadFinger Knew What They Were Doing From The Beginning, And For Them To Blow Smoke And Suggest Otherwise Would Be An Insult To Everyone.

the reason for most of the illegal downloads for this game is pure the reason that you have to BUY better weapons and upgrades to gain acces to the full game.

At some point they advice you to buy a gun in the game to have a decent round of zombies. and the more you get into the game,the more they want you to buy those guns with real money.

if these were legit expansions,ok but for these things like weapons,extra weapon slots,medic kits ect ect ect.than i wont even dare to pay the 99 cents for a game that works on a F2P mini transactions model.

I do not live in a third world country (I hate that term) Have access to major credit cards and PayPal, when I try to purchase apps all I get is "Sorry, purchases are not enabled in your country at this time."
Sorry Google, it's 2012 not 1992!
Why not sell "Google Play Cards"

wow, lot's of crying over .99 and a game that uses IAP... really? Life must have you down if that's something to get upset over. It's a great game, worth .99 and a whole lot more. I hate games/apps that use IAP, but jesus, they as I as you, are all out to make as much $$$ as possible for our work, AND, you can play the game and not use IAP. It's hard, but it can be done! Would I have rather paid a higher price without IAP, YES, but it's not my work, my game, my choice! People need to stop with the crying and excuses, piracy is a HUGE problem on Android, much more then on iOS, and that's the problem that truly needs to be solved and why Android is almost always viewed as 2nd tier to devlopers. I support MADFINGER, and have more going on in life then to cry over a dollar or how much they made, or if the game should have been free to begin with, or blah blah...

blabla bla,thats what your comment is.

wait until you playd the game on your new device and discover that you have to RE buy all the items you bought on your old device.

"The vast majority of Android users out there, we presume, don't download pirated apps."

Then why do some developers complain about this, and saying Android is the most pirated platform!

Because is biggest mobile platform without anti-piracy protection... until now, in this years IO they announced apk encoding.

People use your brains no numbers = no sympathy from me - you want to say android sucksbecause of piracy back it up...its all fund tho....on top of that iPhone has a ton of piracy itself...its kind of sad people blindly supporting something that was never determined to be true in the first place. First rule of thumb never believe someone that is trying to sell you a product

I didnt pirate it, but if i wanted to try it out i would have. Im not going to spend money on something im not sure i will or wont like, no matter if it is cheap or not.

I have not downloaded it now either however, even though it is "free". Just doesnt interest me.

So what measures does one take to find out if their app is pirated? And by how many people? The Play Store just displays legal downloads, right? Not across the board installations, correct?

I don't buy the excuse. The piracy rate could have been 99%, but that 1% that were willing to pay is still money in the bank. Something else is going on here, and piracy (like always) is just the easy excuse.

Wow a lot of folks that think there shit smells like roses, I'll come out and say it I tried pirating it, I've tried with a few apps simply because I like to try them out, but in the end if I like it I buy it or just don't
Pick it up and delete it, the point made by the gentleman in Kenya is a very good one and very true as most folks save up for a long time to afford, certain phones which has nothing to do with being cheap, just the financial situation, some splurge and others go with out just to get there hands on a luxury because that's still what phones are in many countries, as far as me I was happy to pay the dollar, and its good that folks that could afford it or didn't have access to a debit or credit card can now get it

Not to be paranoid, but I bet Apple put them up to this. Apple is trying to send a message to developers to get them to only develop for iOS. Apple is relentless in its push to stop Android at any cost. This is a response to the IAP hack for Apple. Just my two cents.

Well now I feel really good about giving them my $1 last week. It sucks that people feel the need to pirate stuff that only costs 4 quarters. Not cool. I hope all pirates, especially those that refuse to give money to cash-strapped indie-devs get their asses kicked. For all the work that went into this game, the devs decided to sell it to you for a single dollar, and you still couldn't help the guys/gals out? I'm pretty sure that makes you a shitty person. If you pirated this game and are reading this, I want you to know that.

Without some numbers i feel this was just an excuse to make it free. I'm not unhappy about it being free, it's the fact that it seems like they are blowing smoke up my ass saying it was piracy. I doubt that this game was pirated that heavily, it's good but not THAT good. Another thing that needs to be understood is that piracy is going to happen, so we need to get over it. It happens on EVERY platform and is not exclusive to android, Windows, etc. It cannot be exclusively in Google's hands to prevent, software developers need to be able to handle themselves and contribute to stopping piracy.

I'm so glad to see that I'm not the only one biting on the conspiracy theory. "Dead Trigger...wasn't that the one that everyone was upset about because it had an upfront fee and had inapp purchases? It sounds to me like they simply did what people asked and then blamed it on "rampant piracy" to make it seem like that was the case."

I find it hard to believe that there is no way to write an app and protect it from piracy in the Android ecosystem... it seems like a MASSIVE oversight on Google's part if that is the case...

Hello all)
On some CIS forum, where can be downloaded piracy games and apps (not android only), were about 10 000 downloads this game, when it costs 1 dollar in Google Play and when there are were about 50 000 purchases this game. So, I think, that actual worldwide downloads from forums and fileshares was more that actual purchases in Google Play.
To be honest, I'm download this game from piracy forum and try it first. After I bought this game. I'm do it anytime, when I interested in app or game, which costs something above zero.
Now I have purchased this game and another 20+ apps.

Since Credit Cards are not that common in Europe, what can we do? Telephone Providers refuse to do phone bill payments, Google refuses Paypal and iDeal...

I for one am glad the apps are being pirated. I love Android and understand that piracy really holds the platform back. But Google plays a large role in that holding back of Anroid.

Coming from Europe, The Netherlands to be specific. I'm blessed with living in one of the smallest countries with one of the best economies. While you can buy a Gnex for 350 dollars in the US, here it still costs between 450 and 500 dollars to buy one. When it just came out it was around 750 to 800 dollars here. We buy them! Ridiculous prices compared to what they are being sold for in the US, but we don't mind. The salaries here are pretty high and subsidies from carriers are very big. So people have money and we're willing to spend it.

My point? I pirate apps all the time. Guilty as charged. Reason? I don't have a credit card and there is no other way to pay for them. Its a big hassle to find a debit card that can be used as a credit card here, since debit cards tend to be "Maestro" instead of "MasterCard". I can get a "MasterCard" debit card, but only from shady, weird, often foreign companies. And often the terms are ridiculous.

Recently I played Pyramid Rising. Fun game, but after investing your time in the game... all of a sudden you are told that it's the free/light version and that level 11 is the last level you can play for free. The other 30 levels are in the paid version. Can you understand that I'm probably gonna pirate the game?

I bought into the Android ecosystem (probably my 4th year already, bought an HTC Hero as soon as it came out back in the day). Gave out 750 dollars of my money, I have Gmail, Google+, etc. So why is it I'm blocked out of Google Play? Iwould love to give more of my money to Google. But I can't.

Here in Europe we just don't like credit cards. Banks are pretty hesitant in handing them out, especially to young people. It's just not as common. And frankly, I don't really want one. Simply because I wouldn't use it much and the idea behind it is stupid to us. I refuse to believe that the Play store can't function via Paypal, ideal, wire transfers, gift cards etc.

So until there is another method of paying in the Play Store, I'm pirating. Don't come with new IDs and other bus, just bring us a different way to pay. And don't even get me started on Google Play Magazines, the app and icon that sits in my app drawer only to be clicked and be told it's not available in my country. And Google Play Music, Movies, Books. None of which is available.

Viva la Piracy!

I completely understand what you're saying, and I'm not being a dick when I say this. You're the populace that will eventually kill any chance for good games and apps in the google play store, and it's not your fault because I would likely do the same thing in the same situation.

What about people like me that live outside de US, specifically in Central America, and that since they change from Android Market to Google Play Store cannot make a single purchase, no matter the amount???

I´ve written to Google many times, no answer yet. So for me it´s their fault that apps are pirated.

Something's wrong with this world we live in. We live in a world where people, businesses and governments believe that what's good for them is not supposed to be good for you. Too many damn contradicting laws, statements and practices to live a ethical lifestyle. To be honest, it seems that lying and cheating is what gets us by. "NONE OF US CAN SAY THAT WE'VE NEVER, TRIED TO SCHEME IN ORDER SAVE A DOLLAR; INCLUDING THE PEOPLE WHO MADE THIS APPLICATION." No one in here can say honestly that they even file their taxes correctly, but you want to shake your finger at someone else!(shame on you shame on me) Piracy is wrong and its unethical. It hurts society and discourages talented individuals from wanting to share their contributions with the world, but the only chance of fixing things is if the people who are supposed to set the example lead by example, and that's not going to happen! until then we need to continue rolling with the punches which is what this developer did. People practice ethics when it's convenient for them the same way the same way they look to God all of sudden things go wrong. I'm sorry that they had to make their game free but unfortunately this is life we live.

And this is why IOS will be the dominant platform for the really good games. Until there's a way for app cloning and piracy to be throttled down, we're not going to see the heavy hitters develop for Android at the same pace they do for IOS.

Sigh. If it's not fragmentation it's this. I love android, and I'm not leaving any time soon, but at some point this stuff needs to be addressed.

Whoa, 135 comments! Must be really high piracy then...

Too bad that the game is completely forgettable...

Piracy really is not about stealing. This is technological warfare! Actually, I feel it's wrong for people to be punished for it. Piracy was meant to make a statement that we want to live in a free world. It wasn't intended to hurt anyone, but like physical warfare there are casualties in technological warfare as well. Piracy is about demanding equality. It was born from a life long imbalance in our societies. Not just in third world countries but in your poor neighborhoods as well. People are trying to fill a void to keep up with the rest of the world. This his how they stand up to their governments and say, you will not deny us the things that the rest of the world has. We all want to enjoy the same things and have access to the same things in life regardless of where we live. I always keep things 100! Our so called leaders need to wake up. They don't tackle any real political issues.

Ill admit that I have stolen software in the past, however I have never pirated mobile apps.

I think the low cost overall has somthing to do with it; coupled with the fact that I dont think its right to steal. So if a mobile developer makes somthing I really like, I have and will continue to contribute my couple bucks to get that thing I like. If I think its too much, well I wont buy it and thusly wont have it.

That being said sometimes Ill even think about it for awhile and Ill even buy an app that might be a little expensive. I paid 8 bucks for Doggcatcher, a purchase that I mulled over for months. But I really wanted a good Pod player app. I feel like I got what I paid for.

The moral of the story is, we shouldnt steal and the developers shouldnt give up. Make a good product, price it aggressivly and dont whine about losing to piracy. Every app has to fight that fight. Make awesome and the community/rewards will follow. If thats not good enough for you, then maybe you should reconsider making software for a living.

I think what I want to know is, why does pirating need a justification. Most of the arguments on pirating on this thread have to do with why is it being done. Sure it's tragic, especially for the developers, but it happens and you are forced to accept that. There is profound data that proves it so, so much that it can't be denied by intelligence.

There are genuine answers, not ALL being excuses. If you can't get something that you want because some place only gives it out to certain other places, how do you procure that item?

not going to lie, i have downloaded pirated games and apps and if i like the game or app then i will actually go and buy it from the play store if its available.

I would pirate fewer apps (none?) if it were possible to delete apps from my Google Play account. If I want to try an app that might be cool or might be a piece of crap, I'll sideload it first. If it's great/good, I uninstall and go get it from Google Play. If it sucks, I uninstall and move on.

Am I willing to pay $0.99 to try out a game that might suck? ABSOLUTELY YES! I have no problem with that. I spent $8.10 on breakfast this morning.

Am I willing to have your crappy game show up on my Google Play apps list from now until the sun finally goes dark? Not a freakin' chance. Now, nothing gets purchased from Google Play until I know that I actually want it.

- Advanced Task Killer is still on my apps list. That's been pointless since Froyo.
- Fruit Ninja Free is still on my apps list. I bought Fruit Ninja, so why in the hell do I need the free version still on my list?
- Drag Toilet Paper is still on my apps list. We were drunk, it was free, why does it need to stay on my list?
- How about 486 different Camera ZOOM buddy packs? WTF? They were stupid once we sobered up. Go away.

Unfortunately, for my brand of piracy, the only people who stand to win if Google fixed their stupidity are the people making crappy games. They would all get $0.99 from me for everything they excrete into Google Play as long as the teaser and promo images look cool.

The only thing make me pirate many paid apps because i dont have Credit card, and bank wont isued me because my income is not flat, well now what ?

Google only allow pay with credit card in my countries. Thats the problem, why not just make carrier billing in all countries. Thats easy and secure..