Android game goes free due to 'unbelievably high' piracy rate

Android game goes free due to 'unbelievably high' piracy rate

Summary: The Android game Dead Trigger used to cost $0.99. Now it's free. Madfinger Games says it had to relaunch the game as a free app due to an "unbelievably high" piracy rate.

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Update on August 2 - Madfinger game goes free on iOS, piracy to blame like on Android?

Android game goes free due to 'unbelievably high' piracy rate

Madfinger Games has announced the relaunch of its game Dead Trigger, a zombie FPS for smartphones, as a free app. The reason given was simple: piracy rates were out of control. As a result, you can now download the game for free from the official Google Play store: play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.madfingergames.deadtrigger.

Many Dead Trigger users who paid for the game are posting angry one-star reviews on the page because the game is now free. Madfinger, for its part, says it was forced to stop charging. Here's the company's statement, released on Facebook:

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.

Dead Trigger was originally available on Android for $0.99. It remains available on iOS for the same price. You can grab it from here: itunes.apple.com/ca/app/dead-trigger/id533079551.

Piracy is a serious problem for both platforms, but the general consensus is that the issue is much more serious on Google's Android than it is on Apple's iOS. After you add fragmentation into the mix, many app and game developers find it more difficult to succeed on Android compared to iOS.

There are many reasons given for this large gap. Some say it's because Apple users are simply more willing to spend money than Google users. Others believe that since Android has a larger market share, it also has a larger group of pirates.

I think the problem largely comes down to a much lower barrier to entry: on Android, you can sideload apps after changing a setting in the operating system, while iOS requires you to first jailbreak the operating system. Thankfully, paid app encryption is coming to Android. We'll see soon enough if the feature makes a large enough impact.

Update on August 2 - Madfinger game goes free on iOS, piracy to blame like on Android?

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Topics: Piracy, Android, Apps, Google, Mobile OS, Security

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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31 comments
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  • Of course it's "freemium"

    Stating it's not a "freemium" game is rediculous. They do an intro mission with the AR15 then give you a sloppy 1911 and make the AR15 a IAP. Using the 1911 makes the game really difficult too soon and cash comes in too slow to buy the good weapons. Typical of a "freemium" game.
    jmiller1978
    • Also, Google Ads are not "free"

      They take your life, as any other annoying advertisement.
      DDERSSS
      • bad night sleep?

        google ads "take your life" ?!?
        Jean-Pierre-
      • What?

        Like all those free iOS games doesn't have ads?
        Samic
        • No, they do not when paid version is available

          Paid applications for Android are in dramatically lower quantities comparing to iOS -- because people on Android do not like to pay. However, they pay by swallowing all of the advertisement garbage that Google forces into their throats.
          DDERSSS
          • Have you even seen these ads?

            Most are just a little banner at the bottom of the screen that doesn't even encroach on the game. The most annoying is words with friends, because it makes you view an ad after every move but like you said... there is a paid version. Most others have very nonintrusive ads.
            dsa791
          • I would argue that iOS and Android apps quality is the same

            When it comes to the same level of crapiness of free apps.

            Since you either don't know ad networks or still think iAd is not a complete failure, all major mobile advertising networks, e.g. admob, millennial media etc., are all cross platform, meaning it doesn't matter you're on iOS or Android if you want to label app freeloaders of their "willing to swallowing advertisement garbage" behavior, it also applies to the both camps.
            Samic
          • That is the key: "free" apps are quite bad in because of advertisement

            @Samic: the problem with Android is that many apps do not even get released there in paid version. So overall ecosystem is of lower quality exactly because of that. Too many apps do not exist there in no-ads version.
            DDERSSS
          • Talk about shooting themselves in the foot...

            DERSSS has it right... So we already know that Apple provides a better user experience. And now we know that Apple also provides a much better developer experience...

            You Roid losers are pathetic... You whine and make these claims that Roid is so much better (when it clearly isn't) and you keep shooting yourselves in the foot with every app or game you pirate. I don't know why any developer would bother to make any app or game for Roid. It's and ecosystem full of pathetic loser pirates. (note I didn't say all of the Roiders are losers, some are just ignorant non-techies, I simply said it was full of pathetic loser pirates).
            i8thecat4
          • read

            he did say "free ios games". In app ads are less tiresome than apple commercials. Those are the king of ads.
            rengek
      • you're right

        So tired of apple commercials.
        rengek
  • Cry us a river

    ... this is what open source has created: a sense of entitlement that has completely devalued software. I've heard it myself among co-workers, and it's never about any of the open source advantages. It's always about the application effectively being "free", and whether a "free" version is available.

    The benchmark has been set pretty low, and now the end-users are conditioned to expect "free". After all, you can get a free office suite instead of paying for MS Office. Who really thinks someone is going lose sleep over pirating a $1 game because a "free" version isn't available? No one.
    ITTech001
    • Yeah right, it's open source fault.

      That's why Linux users have consistently shown they are willing to pay more than other users when buying the humble indie bundle. I guess it's a "sense of entitlement" which has devalued software so much, that they pay more for it! Man getting so much stuff for free will give you to audacity to pay more for software, imagine that.

      In other words, I would ask for actual proof of your statement, as the facts surrounding the humble indie bundle tell a very different tale than you.
      zefficace
    • Lets face it....

      Anyone moaning about paying a buck really needs to get some therapy. A starbucks latte costs me upwards of £2 in the UK (thats about$3.50). At a buck it's not even worth thinking about.
      johnmckay
      • I agree 100%

        But you keep forgetting the Android factor. The great majority of Android devices are crapware people got because it was the cheapest piece of crap they could get. Not because of brand model quality.

        When you have a group who is mostly cheap people, what you get is people who would pirate even a $0.01 app to save the penny. It is also the reason why Android has such a high level of infection .... cheap people will install what ever pirated crap they can find just to save $0.99
        wackoae
        • Arrogant

          I take exception to your arrogant attitude. I have a good job, but a house mortgage, two cars and three kids to support. There are some of us who use our money for more than toys. I am a great Android supporter because I am not willing to pay almost double for a toy which is only somewhat better (??) than another toy.

          And yes I am regulary buying apps from the Andoid app store, paying 99c is much easier than trying to pirate something.
          Riaanh
          • Ignorant

            You seem to be a bit confused. Is that double the free iPhone, double the $50 iPhone, double the $99 iPhone, double the $199 iPhone double the $299 iPhone or what?

            You're an exception to the 'roid rule since you have a home and family. Most 'roids are in High School and act that way.
            Gr8Music
          • Not worth it Gr8Music...

            Riaanh is just blowing some wannabe smoke... Everyone knows that Apple has a better user experience and a much better developer experience (they actually get paid for their hard work instead of getting ripped off)... Apple has always had better apps and a much greater variety and selection. Roid fans love to stick out their lower lip, make ludicrous claims, and see how much they can grow that chip on their shoulder. And when you ask them for some common sense clarification that exposes them for the mindless morons they are, well, they walk away and sulk.

            Some people have fallen into the trap of thinking that going against popular opinion defines them as a rebel. They don't realize that we all see them going against common sense and we see them as morons and not the rebels they think are.
            i8thecat4
  • Good God

    Pirating a 99 cent game?
    thebaldguy
    • LOL

      They've been doing it with 99 cent songs for awhile, so why should a game be any different?
      TroyMcClure