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Developer claims that piracy was out of hand with its zombie shooter

When it comes to purchasing apps on platforms like iOS, Android, or Windows Phone, 99 cents seems to be the "sweet spot" that will spark a user to take the chance to hit the "Purchase" button without a second thought. Many of the most popular games on smartphones like Angry Birds or Cut The Rope sell for just 99 cents.
Madfinger Games, makers of the popular title Shadowgun, thought it had a winning combination by offering its latest zombie shooter, Dead Trigger, for 99 cents on the Android platform. However, despite the low price tag, piracy was a big problem with the game according to the developers.
Regarding price drop. HERE is our statement. The main reason: piracy rate on Android devices, that was unbelievably high. At first we intend to make this game available for as many people as possible - that's why it was for as little as buck. - It was much less than 8$ for SHADOWGUN…
However, even for one buck, the piracy rate is soooo giant, that we finally decided to provide DEAD TRIGGER for free.
Madfinger Games as a result has turned Dead Trigger into a free game with available in-app purchases. The company is quick to point out that this isn't a move to make the game a “freemium” title and that users can still play through the game without ever making an in-app purchase.
Interestingly, Dead Trigger is still available for 99 cents in the Apple App Store.

Sources: The Verge, Facebook

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RE: Something does not add up to me
By osalcido on 7/23/2012 8:22:27 PM , Rating: 4
So.. theyre selling this for $0.00 .. but they'll make it up on volume?

RE: Something does not add up to me
By TSS on 7/24/2012 9:50:57 AM , Rating: 2
Yes they will, because of selling it for $1 and no ingame store purchases is less profitable then offering it for free with cosmetics you can buy in the game.

This way, your profit model is independant of piracy. The game can't be pirated since it's free - but that means some of the people who'd normally pirate it and spend nothing, will buy an ingame item because the option is there. While using "pirated items" is still a long way off.

There are more people willing to spend more money this way then selling your game with everything in it for an initial step in price. Those who refuse to spend $1 will easily spend $15 on the same game if it's free and they like it after they've played it, and want more of the same.

IMO for the time being it's not a bad model at all, possibly even superior to sell everything upfront model we had before. Everybody has acces to a ton of games wether you're poor or rich, while you can still spend money on the games you actually like, since you've already played it you know what you like. It's a win-win situation for all involved.

Until the time there are so many games with microtransactions that people will refuse to move on because of having invested too much time and money in the current games and the rate at which new games will be released slows down, probably leading to a few big developers shutting down (betting everything on a big project, people don't buy it because they're too invested in it's previous itiration, project fails company dies). But the industry will find a new model after that.

By xthetenth on 7/25/2012 8:24:48 AM , Rating: 2
It makes a lot of sense. One potential way to keep the market growing is to bundle the new games with the old for at least some of the paid stuff. For example, if a player on one of a publisher's games has bought premium time (basically just an increase in rewards), why not make it work for all their games? That way there's more inducement to play that publisher's games, the premium time looks like a better deal, and gets the player looking at the paid stuff for the new games. That way the new games are boosted by the old rather than held back. It's a really sound business model when done right, and it significantly reduces the potential of shovelware. The main potential issue is blatant cash grubbing, but that tends to be seriously discouraged by it pissing off players. I'm kind of hopeful that free to play games won't be nearly as dependent on the traditional stuff like marketing and a big name as on simply being good. Unfortunately, the styles of games where it works really well seem to be somewhat limited. I don't see much appeal in most single player games where things like a coherent single narrative and game balance get in the way, for example.

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