This Is Why Android Can't Have Nice Things

Dead Trigger, a mobile video game for iOS and Android, is now free on the Google Play Store. Awesome, right? Except no. It's not awesome, since it's only free because the piracy rate for the Android version is "unbelievably high. Ugh.

It's just one example, but it's a problem that's endemic to the platform — or at least seen that way. There are a lot of things keeping developers from succeeding on, or even wading into the Android platform. Fragmentation doesn't help. But developers having to just give up charging for their game — which was only a buck! — because everyone's pirating it has to have a lot to do with it.

And look, we've given you plenty of advice about how to pirate. But in general, you want to limit those habits to things you actually own, and are being inconvenienced out of, by DRM or format or whatnot. Not every app on your mobile platform.

Until the problem corrects itself, iOS is going to continue to obliterate Android in app profits. And as long as that keeps up, Android's going to keep getting second-rate effort from good developers, and inferior versions of good apps. [Verge]


Comments

    I get your point and agree that piracy on any platform has a detrimental effect on a developer's will to develop on that platform.

    However; isn't the lesson in this case: "This is why Android still gets nice things and gets them for free"?

    And I'm sure PC piracy wiped the industry out years ago. I pay for my apps, I donate appropriately for free apps that deserve it, and I visibly roll my eyes when my friends complain that an app that was acquired illigitimately doesn't work or installs dodgy stuff. As it should be.

    I would argue that the massive install base has a big bearing on those profit margins for apple.

    as far as i know it is incredibly easy to jailbreak a iphone so there would be no reason not to think that there is similar numbers on both platforms that are pirates.

    it would just seem less of a impact on a massive install base.

      Exactly. Pretty silly article really. If you want to "pirate" you'll put the effort in and do it, on any platform at all.
      For myself, I don't. The apps are cheap, I have the money and "pirating" is just too much bother.
      If there's a free, hacked version of a paid Android app I'll get the paid one every time because the hacked version is obviously not safe.

    How? There are whole websites developed for free iOS apps - with ways to make in-app purchases for free....

    Of the people I know who have smartphones, but far most of them jailbreak and then install the "free" iOS apps.

      You must hang out with nerds. Nobody i know Jailbreaks their phones, and i think that's more representative of the wider population.

        +1
        I'm a nerd and may or may not have partaken in some devious digital deeds in my time, but I've never gone to the effort of pirating apps. Android is great because most apps have a decent free version and the paid versions are cheap. It's more effort than it's worth to pirate most apps.

        +1 exactly, many people who visit gizmodo have a poor perspective on what the other 99.99999% of the world does

      See, I jailbreak, but me and the people I know jb to install what we want, and in the last six months I've probably spent more in the cydia

        ....store than in the main app store.

        And I don't know anyone who actually kept installous.

          +1 . Although I kept Installous and admit to using it to try expensive apps (to get around the annoying lack of trial periods for iPad apps) but I end up buying everything I keep. My concious wouldn't have it any other way.

          And same goes with your comment about Cydia. Pirating jailbreak apps and tweaks is worse than pirating App Store apps in my opinion, as the developer has a much smaller userbase and they need money to live on and encourage them to create great things. The paid tweaks are usually worth every cent. This is why the Cydia store is currently thriving and offering up so many awesome enhancements to stock iOS (which lets face it, is highly limited without jailbreaking, and that's coming from a big fan of Apple products).

          Some Android users (obviously not all) I read from on the net, seem to have this "I'm entitled to it" opinion about everything they download and baulk at paying for anything even at 99c. In the end they are doing their own OS harm as there's no question it has turned many developers away from Android. You see stories about this all the time.

    Higher _rate_? if you have 50,000 sales on android, and 200,000 pirated versions.....but on iOS have 20,000 sales and 30,000 pirated versions.....sure, the rate on android is higher, but you're still getting more money from android (assuming selling at the same price on both platforms). a pirated copy is not a lost sale. there needs to be some more figures behind this to make any sort of reasonable call.

      You also need to factor in hits to company servers. 200,000 pirate apps hitting the server per 50,000 good hits will cost the company more than 30,000 pirate hits per 20,000 good hits.

      When did Android app sales get to be 250% of iOS app sales? AFAIK they are only very slightly ahead.

        Those were hypotheticals. I have no idea about the actual numbers involved, which was kind of my point.

      I think the main issue is the game was released as a paid app to recoup dev costs, then they rreleased it f 2 p to get more customers for their In app purchases. The customer base got cranky cause many already paid, so they turned to piracy as a get out of jail free card.

      As stated, piracy is not a lost sale.

    its easier to pay for thing on ios because itunes gift cards are so easy to get hold of and use. you can set up an account with out needing a credit card. The Play store need a credit card to buy things. This may put some people off. i know it puts me off.

    Too bad that Dead Trigger is a sh!t game that's always been filled with IAP.
    Seriously, the sheer amount of cash they were trying to milk screamed "freemium" from launch date.

    Sure, iPhones can be jailbroken - but what proportion of iDevice users do that, vs. the proportion who do that on their Android device? Factor in this, with the issue of fragmentation (mostly in screen size/resolution and CPU/GPU hardware) and the accurate tag line could be "this is why the best devs won't bother with more than token Android support"

    Buy your software guys. How would you feel if you didn't get paid for your work?

      I dont know if you have ever tried to root your Android device, but it is kinda difficult to do... unlike jailbreaking an iPhone which is more like plug iPhone into PC, run jailbraking software... done.

    Does no one remember how microsoft came to be the most popular OS?...

    Developers CHANGE YOUR f BUSINESS model
    focus on advertising if you not happy with apps been pirated

    Ooo yeah, that's gonna have some implications for a certain kickstarter project...

      Chameleon perhaps? First person to share that apk on torrents is a total douche...

    personally i found iPhone apps much easier to pirate, using the central hub Installous. CBF so far with android. too messy.

      + 1
      jailbreaking and installing installous was easy for my iphone but i have not even bothered doing anything with my new Android

    Really? I don't think I've ever seen it before.

      Of all the commentariat... You haven't seen this picture before...I see your really and raise you a really, really?

      MotorMouth you are a serial poster... I am shocked this is the first time you've seen it... In saying that the picture still makes me laugh... :)

        Oh come on motormouth, you totally have this hanging above your bed except you've drawn a sword through the iPhone as well

    I wonder what the excuses for not releasing on WP7 are?

    Oh and what the impact of WP8 will be on these sorts of shenanigans.

      WP7 has crap penetration; not worth developing for just yet, that's why as I see it.

    Apex Launcher is a nice thing. Android has it. Can't really understand why people pirate programs that go for a buck. It could be that they're too young to get a debit or credit card.

    Pretty sure most who pirate an app werent going to buy an app anyway. A gamebthats $1.00 and makes most of its money from in app purchases anyway. Poor example. I downloaded a pirated app...why...because i flashed a new rom and it said was unavailable even tho i had alrewdy purchased it with the same phone on a previous rom.

    Another biased article. Maybe this is a good thing? The price that some of these apps cost is pathetic, the reason I never got it in the first place was because it was overpriced.

    All I was able to read was "OMG APPLE!!!! *FAP FAP FAP FAP*

    I've got a rooted android, only time I've installed PKGs I downloaded myself were while I was rooting the thing and Humble Indie Bundle games I paid for.

    Most of my friends have android phones, I don't know any one of them that has bothered pirating games on it.

    Sounds to me like the developer is just needing to compete with all the other free games on the market.

    I've definitely pirated more stuff on my iPod Touch than my Desire HD . But that's just because I lost respect for Apple and It was a lot easier, as others say, to pirate on IOS.

    I think pirating stuff on iDevices is more the norm and there's plenty of websites advertising the steps needed to do it. I've never read anywhere about getting free apps on Android and this is probably because it's so easy, but people don't have to tell you how and that alone should reduce how often it happens.

    I would like to see more companies coming over to Android though and to be honest, at some point it will be more financially viable to build apps for Android first with a greater user base. App developers aren't really doing themselves any favours doing half ass ports to Android, from IOS. There needs to be more companies making apps that use the features that are specifically suited to Android. This means using the design guidelines set by Google and adding things like NFC, SD Card access, Androids sharing system and customizability so that it fits with the rest of Android. Many of the apps I use that are specific to Android seem to have a pretty good fan base and the companies that make them are constantly upgrading and improving their products to make them the best they can be.

    Maybe Apple just made it really easy to develop for IOS and people became too lazy, but very few apps in my opinion, really make good use of Androids features and if they did people might be more willing to pay for them instead of feeling they are cheap knock-offs.

      I think it also comes down to the fact that the large majority of iPhone users aren't really too bright and probably didn't even know that it was possible to pirate apps.

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