Madfinger’s decision to move their popular zombie shooter game Dead Trigger from $0.99 to free was met with both cheers and jeers. Anyone looking to download the game for free from Google Play couldn’t have been more happy. Those who had already purchased the game felt like they had been cheated, which Madfinger could certainly sympathize with.
According to a Facebook post from Dead Trigger’s developers Madfinger Games, the main reason Dead Trigger went from $0.99 to free was due to “unbelievably high” piracy rates on Android devices:
Regarding price drop. HERE is our statement. The main reason: piracy rate on Android devices, that was unbelievably high. At first we intend to make this game available for as many people as possible - that's why it was for as little as buck. - It was much less than 8$ for SHADOWGUN but on the other hand we didn't dare to provide it for free, since we hadn't got XP with free-to-play format so far. - However, even for one buck, the piracy rate is soooo giant, that we finally decided to provide DEAD TRIGGER for free. Anyway - DEAD TRIGGER is not FREEMIUM, it always was and still remains FREE-TO-PLAY, that means, all players are able to play it without IAP! We stand up for this statement, because all members of our team are playing (and enjoying) DEAD TRIGGER without IAP.Madfinger GamesDevelopers of Dead Trigger
As unfortunate as this is for Madfinger, it’s even worse for Android as a whole.
When big name game developers like Madfinger go as far as completely giving up on charging money for a game because piracy rates are so out of control on Android, it’s going to cause a stir. Developers aren’t going to hear about Madfinger’s piracy troubles and decide to release high-quality games for free. They’ll either pump games full of ads (on top of offering in-app purchases) or ditch Android for iOS.
Side loading apps on Android devices certainly has its advantages. But the time has come for Google to implement some sort of free or low cost verification process for certain types of apps if they want developers to remain interested in their platform. Let’s hope this whole mess gets sorted out before the impact really starts to show.
In the meantime, go enjoy Dead Trigger for free. It’ll only take one level to really appreciate the work Madfinger put into the game.