How real is Android piracy? Two big-time devs report positive numbers
After a week where Android piracy has been a hot topic we have a bright light for all you developers. Users, developers and enthusiasts from all around have been talking about the lack of downloads and that piracy is just incredibly high. Madfinger, the developers of Dead Trigger, were forced to push the game down to $0.99 only to later make it completely free.
However, we have had two pieces of news come in today that are really quite comforting. The first is that Instapaper (which somewhat recently came to Android) has been enjoying a dramatically improved download rate. That is, an increase of 600 percent! This has been ever since the release of the ASUS/Google Nexus 7. Those are whopping numbers for the app and shows that Android users are still downloading apps. Don’t fear too much just yet developers!
Second up, Google’s Jack Palevich has quoted Chris Pruett’s (the developer of Windup Knight) tweet on Google+.
Lotta press about Android piracy lately.For the record, our piracy rate is about 12% on Android and about 15% on iOS.
— Chris Pruett (@c_pruett) July 29, 2012
Chris takes those words and evaluates them with all his Google/MIT knowledge at hand -
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.
Interesting take on the matter. Chris seems to dismiss piracy as being an issue – as long as the developer is doing the right thing that is. But what is that right thing? Well, in Chris’ eyes it appears to be that making your app free in today’s mobile marketplace is the answer to these issues.
I, for one, am not against paid apps. In fact, I applaud them just as I do paid music, paid movies and all media content. Apps should not be different. The only thing that I do ask is that every paid app has a free version (ad supported, of course) to let the user gauge whether they are willing to dish out a small fee to play the full/premium version. That doesn’t sound too hard does it?
So, how real is the Android piracy epidemic? Is the ‘issue’ on such a big scale as we have all been led to believe over the last couple weeks? For now, we don’t know. But if these positive numbers are anything to go by then it seems that ‘real’ Android downloads still gave life.