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Piracy, eh?

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So Drew suggested I elaborate a bit on the piracy levels I reported on my last journal, when I mentioned we had released "Fling!" on the Android Market.

I can't give you guys whole numbers, but to sum it up, the game was being pirated since the first day it was released. So far, we estimate it has been pirated over one hundred times the amount of sales we currently have, which is money at least I sure would have loved having (especially considering my personal financial situation, which I will not elaborate on), since we're a small company, and that sort of piracy does hurt us considerably...

If you're wondering how we're estimating those numbers, our ping server, which receives a ping from every new copy of Fling the first time it is ran, and thus lets us see how many new copies are around, shows us how many pings we're getting each hour or so, and we can compare that to how many sales we had so far.

It's quite disappointing how people are pirating a game that costs as much as 1 USD. It's not that expensive. And it has a lot of content, including several free updates, the first that is going to be released soon. So for those of you who say that piracy is not a lost sale, I'd say that you're right. It's a single lost sale, it's a lot of lost sales.

My boss is pretty optimistic though. He believes in the "Piracy can lead to more sales" idea, though I'm not comfortable with either our current sales on Fling for Android or the idea that although the game is being pirated in the hundreds an hour, someone out of those hundreds is going to decide to buy the game.

For my final paragraph on this journal entry, we implemented Google's Market Licensing stuff to help fight piracy. However, it is horribly easy to disable. In fact, seems like other game studios don't even bother with that at all. And we're probably going to follow them in that particular point at least.

I'm sorry to hear this is occurring... It doesn't matter to these people if your game is worth $1.00 or$60.00, someone will download it illegally. It's really hurting indie developers, and forcing us to develop in different ways. I'm finding a lot of profit can be made from online games with cash shops, or unique features, simply because if someone wants to pirate the game, they still will not have access to premium features through the online community.

I'm sure your sales will pick up with word of mouth. Regardless, I'm seeing online games as the safest bet for making profit right now.

Keep releasing your games because in time you'll make enough sales through your inventory that might not make your losses seem as bad.

[quote name='Black-Rook' timestamp='1325594685']
I'm sorry to hear this is occurring... It doesn't matter to these people if your game is worth $1.00 or$60.00, someone will download it illegally. It's really hurting indie developers, and forcing us to develop in different ways. I'm finding a lot of profit can be made from online games with cash shops, or unique features, simply because if someone wants to pirate the game, they still will not have access to premium features through the online community.I'm sure your sales will pick up with word of mouth. Regardless, I'm seeing online games as the safest bet for making profit right now.Keep releasing your games because in time you'll make enough sales through your inventory that might not make your losses seem as bad.
[/quote]

Thank you. Although we can't exactly do online games with cash shops right now, especially considering how those would be incredibly complex and extremely hard and expensive for a small company to produce. But all we can hope is that we will release more and better updates and maybe some other games, and that people will either buy our product some more, or at least not pirate it so much.

[quote]My boss is pretty optimistic though. He believes in the "Piracy can lead to more sales" idea, though I'm not comfortable with either our current sales on Fling for Android or the idea that although the game is being pirated in the hundreds an hour, someone out of those hundreds is going to decide to buy the game.[/quote]

I believe in this idea as well, and it's a popular idea for a reason, but at the same time it's not an easy thing to measure though so unfortunately it only really serves as a way to possibly make yourself feel better about the situation. Not as an excuse to try and stop people from pirating your game but at least something you can fall back on when you do all you can and then throw your hands up in the air when you realize nothing completely stops it.