An app developer reveals piracy figures, and it’s not good

Most websites covering smartphones, especially Android ones, will swerve this topic. It’s a topic that we all know about. One that a lot of us are guilty of too.


An app developer reveals piracy figures, and its not good

As a long-time Android user, I’m almost programmed not to pay for apps. So many, and I mean so many of the apps and games in the Google Play store are “free”. Although you might not consider them “free” when the in-game ads and in-app purchases appear, there is no payment up front. This encourages you to download it.

On an iPhone, at least in my opinion, there’s a lot more apps that you’ll need to pay for and piracy is a lot harder than Android because…

…piracy on Android is shockingly easy.

It’s a double-edged sword though, because although you can get a paid-for app for nothing relatively easily, you can end up with all sorts of other nasties on your phone. Opening up your phone by enabling side-loading and then downloading some random APK from some random iffy-looking website might work for a bit, but how long before your phone starts slowing down inexplicably or worse?

OK. I think I made that a fairly balanced paragraph.

An app developer reveals piracy figures, and its not good

Now, we get a lot of emails from software developers. Every day there’s quite a few in our inbox promoting the next game or app. However, today we got an email from tinyBuild, and what they told us was quite shocking.

They do a few games, but Punch Club is their latest and is £4.16 to buy. They’ve found out that for every Android sale there’s 12 pirated copies in use. On iOS it’s two pirated copies for every sale. The game is available on a PC too, but 31.1% of all of their piracy is on a mobile and 90% of all the mobile piracy is on Android.

An app developer reveals piracy figures, and its not good

Other interesting stats..

Punch Club has been pirated 1.6 million times
1,137,000 times is for PC / Mac / Linux
514,000 times on Mobile

They’ve reached these figures using analytics tools to track all activations, and you can find the full breakdown of the figures in their blog post. They sold 300,000 copies, but the game has been pirated over 1 million times on PC and 500,000 times on mobile.

Crunch the numbers and you’ll see that the Android piracy rate alone (which works out to over 462,000) is far higher than the 300,000 legally copies purchased on all platforms combined.

Pretty shocking.