App piracy is something that I personally have a big gripe with. I myself am an app developer, not necessarily the best but I try. One of my apps, Rwilco12’s Wallpaper Gallery, has been pirated repeatedly and it has been a ridiculous process trying to combat it. At one point I found that I had 8,975 people using the Pro version of my app. Of those 8,975 only 408 had actually paid for it.
Noodlecake had a similar problem when they released Wayward Souls to the Google Play Store. There are no specific numbers that I could find but Noodlecake indicates that only 11% of those who were playing Wayward Souls had actually paid for it. With almost 8,000 reviews (mostly between four and five stars), I can only imagine how many people were playing the game.
After seeing the numbers Noodlecake decided to have a little bit of fun with the people who were pirating their games. As they were developing the game Shooting Stars they developed a second version of it meant just for the pirates. They took the second version and uploaded it to several torrent sites prior to releasing the real Shooting Stars to the Play Store.
This second version plays out the exact same as the real version up until you get to the third boss. You begin to face wave after wave of high level bosses. If you are lucky enough to get past them you are introduced to “Daft Premium” who looks a little like the guys from Daft Punk. “Daft Premium” is exclusive to the pirated version and comes with unlimited health. Once the pirate is killed by “Daft Premium” a message pops up and reads, “Dying sucks, right? But pirating indie games sucks much more! Please support us and buy Shooting Stars!” Two buttons appear below that with the smaller of the two exiting the game and the other taking the pirate to the Play Store to buy the game.
App piracy is a very real problem and it only hurts the end users. Oftentimes I hear the justification, “It only costs a dollar” or something very similar. In my case, after Google took their cut, I lost out on close to $8,000. That’s $8,000 I would have used to buy additional server space, bandwidth, devices, etc. It didn’t hurt me much in the long run as I only do my work as a hobby.
Take that dollar and times it by the magnitude that developers like Noodlecake see on their apps and you’re looking at a much more painful picture. As an employer they have to pay their employees. To pay their employees they need to have money coming in. When piracy runs rampant people can and will lose their jobs. Noodlecake hasn’t said anything about any of their employees losing their jobs but it could happen and maybe already has.
So next time you have an opportunity to pirate something stop and think about what you’re doing. Piracy is painful and it does hurt people. Don’t be one of the people doing the hurting.
Roy likes to dabble in all things Android and contributes everywhere he can. He owns the site rwilco12.com and its accompanying forum, he develops his own apps and ROM’s, is a Moderator and Recognized Developer on XDA-Developers.com and is the VP of Public Relations for AndroidFileHost.com.