Madfinger game goes free on iOS, piracy to blame like on Android?

Madfinger game goes free on iOS, piracy to blame like on Android?

Summary: When the Android game Dead Trigger went from $0.99 to free, Madfinger Games blamed "unbelievably high" piracy rates. Now the company has released the iOS version for free as well, but is it due to piracy again?

Madfinger game goes free on iOS too, piracy to blame again?

Madfinger Games last week announced the relaunch of its game Dead Trigger, a zombie FPS for smartphones, as a free Android app. The company blamed "unbelievably high" and "soooo giant" piracy rates on Google's mobile platform. On Monday, the company did the same for the iOS version of its game. As a result, you can now download the game for free from the official Apple App Store:

So, is Madfinger blaming piracy for the iOS relaunch like they did for the Android one? Not exactly. On the company's Facebook Page, which was used to criticize for Android piracy rates, the announcement was straightforward and didn't really explain much:

Great news, guys! DEAD TRIGGER is avalaible for free on the AppStore now! Moreover update 1.1.2 is finally out and should be visible on the AppStore for the moment. Enjoy!

Maybe the company just wanted to offer both version for free. Either way, the company still considers piracy to be a problem on both Android and iOS. Here's what Madfinger CEO Marek Raba told GameZebo:

There are several myths about pirates. When I read the forums, I get tired of the excuses for downloading the game for free. The most typical example is made by players who allegedly download a pirated copy because a demo version did not exist to try, allowing them to decide whether or not they wanted to buy it. In our case, that’s simply not true. Some of our games have demos, but the piracy rate was same for games with demo as for games without.

Another one often repeated is that, while they might have a jailbroken device, they still buy games anyway. Then I do not understand how the number of pirates on iOS is comparable with the amount of jailbroken devices. Of course, I know that some jailbreak users are paying for games as well, but could it be around 1% at the most?

Another ridiculous comment is that developers of games should attend more to their games by providing new upgrades, contents, etc, to protect their games from piracy. In my opinion, the amount of piracy is equal to how easy the pirating is, and the game developer has nothing to do with it. It is really very sad for us and the gaming industry that with a few clicks of a mouse (err.. touches), a user can install the game and use it for free. It‘s definitely more easy than setting up an account on iTunes or Google Play, filling out large forms and answering all security questions.

Dead Trigger was originally available for $0.99. When it became free on Android, many Dead Trigger users who paid for the game began posting angry one-star reviews on the app's Google Play store webpage. The same hasn't happened on the app's App Store webpage, yet.

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 (see also iOS app developer: Android is designed for piracy). Some say this is 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 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. Either way, as Raba points out, it's still relatively easy to pirate apps on both platforms when compared to setting up an account to get them legally.

See also:

Topics: Piracy, Apple, Apps, iOS, iPhone, 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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  • People need to get a life

    First off... going into a hissy fit because a game you paid .99 cents for... yes .99 measly cents, is now free?! Give me a break people!

    And on a related note... pirating a game that costs less than a one-night Redbox movie rental?! Really?!

    You know, I hate... HATE the in-app purchase model of software profits... but I understand why developers do it. When the price floor has been lowered to .99 cents, and people *still* pirate your stuff, what option do you really have?
    • You are absolutely right

      I have both iOS and Android devices and I always pay for my apps. I figure I get paid for my job so why shouldn't these developers. If something is too expensive I wait for it to come home.
    • Do you know how much work goes into even a 99 cent game?

      I always pay for the apps I use, and - being in programming and side job in design, understand the value of work.

      Interesting, pirates and CxOs have one thing in common: They don't understand the value of work, because they want everything for nothing.
  • Wow, you draw your own conclussions huh?

    Like, Piracy is a bigger problem on Android... that is not what I read at all from that... Crud, the developer said it was a big problem on both platforms.

    You know how many ads I see that talk about jailbreaking to get free Movie and Apps and the Like? A ton! This is why most of yh
    • oops

      Most of these people Jailbreak to begin with!
  • Get a better business model

    It's not a coincidence that the most successful apps seem to be ad-driven or freemium apps.
    • So th developers have seen more income via ad revenue than flat prices?

      Or do customers jailbreak/root their phones and put in ad blocking methods? And, if so, do they do so indiscriminately or under fair conditions (especially apps that do more than they should; no ad-based app needs to know or send my phone number to anyone...)
  • NOt Good

    Points are cool
    Edward Gill
  • Utter Stupidity and Lack of Believability

    After the comment from Madfinger CEO Marek Raba, I decided then and there to forgo any of his companies future games. If he wants to decry me, a now former paying customer, then I don't need any of his products. The man is a failure looking for an excuse.
  • Piracy Is Only A Problem ...

    ... if it's costing you sales. He hasn't demonstrated any evidence of that.
  • Hmmmmm.....

    I'm not saying that no iOS jailbreakers pirate games (clearly some do), but his statement RE: iOS makes no sense at all.

    "Then I do not understand how the number of pirates on iOS is comparable with the amount of jailbroken devices. Of course, I know that some jailbreak users are paying for games as well, but could it be around 1% at the most?"

    Firstly, where are his statistics coming from? Where has he found reliable statistics for the number of jailbroken devices out there... Downloads are NOT EQUAL to jailbreaks—I've probably downloaded tools like RedSn0w dozens of times during the course of a single jailbreak. I have certainly yet to discover reliable statistics for the number of jailbroken iPhones.... and in the absence of that statistic, how can you say that the number of pirates is "comparable".

    Secondly, where are his statistics on piracy coming from? Again, downloads certainly doesn't equal installs. Unless his software contains some way of reporting user counting user numbers and comparing that to sales, then how can he know... and even then, there is a problem. iOS allows me to purchase an app once, and install it on all of my registered devices. For a significant number of people, that number is now at least 2, as many now own, at least, an iPhone or iPod Touch AND an iPad.

    Finally "I know that some jailbreak users are paying for games as well, but could it be around 1% at the most?" That comment alone shows how unqualified this man is to speak about these things.

    To have any idea about this he would need to know three things.

    Firstly. He would need to know an accurate number of how many jailboken iOS devices are out there—as we've discussed, something he cannot know.

    Secondly, he would need to know the number of pirated copies of his software—as we've discussed, something he cannot know.

    Finally, he would need to know, without a doubt, that every single person who had jailbroken their device had also installed his game.

    Without absolute certainty on all of those figures, it is impossible to know, and offensive to suggest, that only 1% of jailbreakers buy their apps.

    I have helped a significant number of people jailbreak their apps, and universally, the statistics are the same.

    Around 40% do so for a single reason—carrier unlocks. They do not install any cydia apps or tweaks. They simply do so, and continue to do so, to preserve their baseband where necessary and use a tool like ultrasn0w.

    Most jailbreakers still equate jailbreaking with carrier unlocking, and simply do not realise that jailbreaking does anything more than this, or know that it can do more, but like their iPhone, iPod touch or iPad to "just work" and are too timid to do anything more, or risk hurting their precious device.

    Another 40 to 50 percent do intend to use some Cydia tools and tweaks they feel are missing from iOS. SBSettings and WinterBoard are amongst the most popular "missing feature" which people continue to jailbreak for, but there are many others.

    The remainder do so to illegally download apps. It's a significant number to be sure, perhaps 10-20% based on the people i've helped, but still a minority.

    The majority of jailbreakers are still honest, and pay for their software... if they didn't, why would Cydia have a store. If jailbreakers are equal to priates, why bother listing apps for sale on Cydia, when no-one would ever buy them.

    Finally, there's this piece of Grade A nonesense.

    "with a few clicks of a mouse (err.. touches), a user can install the game and use it for free. It‘s definitely more easy than setting up an account on iTunes or Google Play, filling out large forms and answering all security questions."

    Really... you honestly believe that.

    You honestly believe that for an iOS user it's EASIER to:

    - Disable OTA software updates.
    - Manually download the iPhone software
    - Download the Jailbreak software.
    - Jailbreak the phone (itself a technical, multi-step process)
    - Find and Add an illegal Repo to Cydia
    - Ignore the warning TELLING YOU that the repo has been reported to contain illegal software
    - Install another installer, and several hacks which allow you to install cracked IPAs.
    - Navigate the library of hacked apps, many of which are mis-catagorised, and may contain malware.
    - Choose a source for the software
    - Enter a Captcha
    - Often wait for 30 or more seconds
    - Avoid the misleading "Download" Advertisements, and pick the right download link
    - Tell it (often more than once) that you don't want to pay for the quicker download.
    - WAIT... While the app downloads at 30-50KB/s (and keep your iPhone from going to sleep and the download stopping when your wifi turns off!)
    - Install the app.
    - Later, rince and repeat the final 9 steps each time their is an update or new version, for every device you own, and be forever locked out of in app purchases for that app.

    Is easier than:
    - Input billing info once.
    - Find an app (either on the app store, or any review site / advert / QR code / whatever which will include a link to the app store)
    - Click "Purchase App"
    - Click "Buy"
    - Click "Update All" periodically.

    Nonesense and you know it.

    I have unfortunately been forced to go through the above process, not because I steal software, but because one app I use regularly, is tied to a $1000 POS server, and its an ABSOLUTE NIGHTMARE, and I consider myself technically competent. Unfortunately, I cannot afford upgrade the server to the newest version, but an update of the iOS app discontinued support for my older server, and the App Store contains no way to downgrade, or reinstall an older version, so this was my only option.

    Believe me when I say, paying 99c is much easier for most customers. If he's complaining, perhaps it's just because people didn't like his app, and didn't want to buy it, and he's so convinced that he has the next Angry Birds, that phantom "Piracy" must be the only reason he can explain it, not that his game just isn't that good.

    Apple has paid over $4 BILLION to developers so far... explain to me again how iOS app piracy is hurting app sales!