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Posted on April 27th, 2012 by Mike Jennings

Android fans: pay for your apps, please

Android PirateThe Football Manager series is one of the world’s most popular gaming franchises, and no-one could deny that its iOS version has been a success. The recently released Android version, though, isn’t doing quite as well, with studio boss Miles Jacobson claiming that, at last count, the piracy rate for his game was at 5:1 in favour of illegally acquired copies.

Jacobson went on to say that if the game “doesn’t hit targets, we won’t be doing another for the platform”, and his view – that it’s not worth developing on Android when so much cash is lost to piracy – is hardly unique. Research firm Yankee Group found that 27% of Android developers surveyed saw piracy as a “huge problem”, with a further 26% also expressing concern And the developer of hit iOS game Infinity Blade cites piracy for not porting the game, saying that the OS “will become a viable place for game developers, but that hasn’t happened yet”.

Declining developer interest

Worrying statistics are beginning to emerge elsewhere, too: cross-platform app development service Appcelerator’s latest developer survey (which consulted 2,173 developers) found interest in Android dropped by 4.7% in the last quarter. That was the biggest drop in interest among the major platforms: the iPhone dropped from 91% to 89% interest, and Windows Phone 7 held steady at just under 40%, after a huge jump in the previous quarter.

It’s easy to see why developers feel this way. Take this thread in Reddit’s Android section, which concerned app payment. Some responses make for grim reading: “I run Linux so I’m not in the habit of paying”, says one, and another says he has “never paid for an app, will never pay for one” – going on to cite ad-supported versions as his preferred alternative. Other users also oppose payment but, as well as using ad-supported software, they also run ad-blocking tools — putting a swift stop to another potential revenue stream.

Our sister title Bit-tech has seen similar attitudes. It launched a £1.79 Android app last summer, and some of the comments made for grim reading.  “If it was free, sure. I don’t pay for apps” said one, and another explained that his initial excitement “soon turned to glum disappointment” when asked to pay – before hinting he’d wait for a pirated version.

On both occasions pirates and those who objected to paying were chastised by the majority who are willing to pay for the software, but slim margins mean even a small number of non-payers can be significant. Indeed, Jacobson says that even if 10% of pirated copies directly represented lost sales “that would make a massive difference for developers”, and could even be “the difference between a studio surviving”.

It’s indicative of the attitude that seems to pervade much of the platform. Many seem to think that paying is wrong, iOS users are somehow being ripped off by software that’s never been cheaper, and that ripping off developers — often self-employed people who rely on that lost income — is acceptable.

The secure alternatives

It’s harmful, and not just for those who lose sales. Google’s Play store has plenty going for it: not far behind the App store in quantity and, arguably quality. Google’s carefree attitude often does more harm than good, though, and as time goes on I’m beginning to think that curated, managed walled gardens are the way forward, rather than the once-appealing open fields.

If app piracy worsens, though, these trends will not continue. Developers will return to iOS or even switch to Windows Phone 7. Both are more secure, and Windows Phone 7 is gathering steam, with 30,000 apps added from December to April, bringing the total to 80,000. Analysts from Morgan Stanley reckon that 43 million Windows phones will be shipped this year, with that number rising to 74 million in 2013.

Apps are the lifeblood of a smartphone, for both developers and users – and if a significant proportion of a platform’s userbase isn’t willing to pay for software, then many won’t see this as a viable business model. If developers desert Android, then neither its versatility nor its low cost will keep a grip on plenty of users who see the best, biggest and most innovative apps appearing on rival platforms.

Similar effects have been felt on the otherwise-healthy PC: Ubisoft didn’t port I Am Alive to the PC, saying “so few people pay for PC games… we have to weigh up the cost of making it”. Successful shooter Bulletstorm won’t see a sequel because the original “didn’t do very well on PC”, with Epic Games president Mike Capps saying “piracy was a pretty big problem”.

If piracy worsens, developers and users will move away from Android, and manufacturers will surely follow the crowds. Samsung, HTC and Sony still support Android, but if the platform falters, sales drop and profits slide, then these companies will have few problems switching allegiances.

Plenty of people love Android but, conversely, plenty of its biggest fans seem to show their allegiance by resisting the urge to support some of its best software and most talented developers. If that continues, there might not be much of a platform left to exploit. It’s a worst-case scenario, but it’s easy to prevent: next time you feel like pirating rather than forking out less than the cost of a sandwich, reconsider. Your favourite phone platform might depend on it.

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67 Responses to “ Android fans: pay for your apps, please ”

  1. Kevin Partner Says:
    April 27th, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    As an app developer, I’d love it if more Android users paid. However, a couple of points:
    1) Games developers could make life much easier for themselves by developing using cross platform tools which would hugely reduce the cost of porting and therefore lower the bar – most such platforms are optimised for games production.

    2) Android users of techie gadgets and those who lurk around techie forums might have a particular linux-derived point of view when it comes to paying but the vast, vast majority of Android handsets are in the hands of people completely ignorant of this philosophy.

    Yes, a smaller percentage of users pay on Android but the market is still vast – I get as much income from Android as I do iOS. Mind you, the situation would certainly be helped if Amazon would get their fingers out and launch their app store in the UK…

    And as a final note, there was indeed a small drop in the percentage of developers targeting Android in that quarter but, from memory, I think the remaining figure is still more than twice the percentage targeting Windows…

    ps: I also notice that Angry Birds has been released in a paid-for ad-free version on Android. I’ve wanted this ever since the first version came out. I’ll be buying.

  2. dubiou Says:
    April 27th, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    “Cash is lost to piracy”? You sound like you toe the industry line well. What makes you think any cash was ever on the table?
    You have failed to mention the users who have traditionally been opposed to paying (the often unjustifiably high price) for PC software, but who now willingly pay the affordable cost for quality apps. Since I fall into this category I understand the mindset of those who demand free; usually simply a case of being unable to afford it – have you ever subsisted on plain white bread for a week or eaten sugar as a means of calorific intake? People do. I suppose you’d argue they shouldn’t own smartphones? Apple users clearly have a bountiful supply of cash otherwise they wouldn’t pay the incredible premium for shiny.

  3. Kevin Partner Says:
    April 27th, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    @dubiou Sadly, app developers aren’t (usually) charities – they need to make money otherwise they will find another platform.

  4. Chris Hamer Says:
    April 27th, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    PC games piracy is probably due to the fact that the pirates get a better game experience because they don’t have to put up with that awful DRM that Ubisoft like to use.
    Im not paying for a game that I need to constantly have an internet connection to play, I dont see this as morally correct.

    As for Android, I I hate Ads and always pay for the Ad free version.
    Maybe Google should remotely delete pirated copies on peoples phone?
    We know they can.
    I don’t see the point because it is not exactly easy to update them because you would have to download them again at a torrent site or where ever they get them. They probably have malware anyway.

    It is very easy to install apps not from the market on Android though, probably not hard to find them either.

    Most apps are like £1 so it’s not even worth the effort to pirate tbh.

  5. Yuri Says:
    April 27th, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    One thing Android developers can also do to get more support (mind you, I pay for every app I use that I like, and I dont have any pirated software on my devices at all), is provide QUALITY. So many apps I have purchased only to return in my 15 minute time window when I see it is a very poorly done conversion that does not fit my screen right, or crashes constantly. While I dont buy a ton of stuff, I have returned far more than I have kept.

  6. J Says:
    April 27th, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Those Ubisoft and Epic Games statements were complete nonsense in the first place. Bulletstorm was an awful port based off of pre-release lies about being “a true PC game” and bundled with GFWL. Ubisoft just does not understand that their DRM is why their games don’t sell on PC and I Am Alive was a failed project anyway.

    Really bad examples.

  7. David Wright Says:
    April 27th, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    I’ve bought apps on Windows Phone, iOS and Android…

    That said, most of the apps I use regularly have been free.

    Quality is the biggest problem – and one of the reasons why I only download the odd free game – I think games are a poor example anyway.

    Games on a smartphone are for the odd 5 minutes here and there, where you are waiting for something. They need to be quick and simple and something you can dip in and out of.

    That is why Angry Birds did so well – and most of the other top games. On Android, I have one game on my phone and that is Triple Town, which I bought.

    Most of the free games I’ve downloaded have lasted maybe 10 minutes, then I’ve deleted them again.

  8. dubiou Says:
    April 27th, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Sorry Kevin, I got a bit ranty previously – just winds me up when software companies make out they’re so hard done-by, blaming piracy on callous individuals who ruin life for everyone else (same divide & conquer technique used by Tories) when in fact the blame lies squarely at the feet of the companies themselves (or the Tories to continue the analogy).
    I know money must be made to continue publishing games, but if their future is threatened by piracy they are clearly not exploiting the MASSIVE amounts of goodwill that can be engendered. All the games I’ve bought for Android have been from small studios that connect with their users, listen to feedback, and develop accordingly. Big companies like to set the rules and enforce compliance on their terms. Nobody likes a bully.

  9. Peter Malins Says:
    April 27th, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    If I could pay through my phone bill

    But having to enter bank details onto google play on my phone puts me off

  10. anamika Says:
    April 27th, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Make better apps worth paying.
    And wrt developers losing interest where i live iPhone share is abt 3% while android abt 50%. So ya better drop your iOS support!

  11. Peterb Says:
    April 27th, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Football Manager is £6.99. I’ve paid for many android apps in the last two years, but one thing I’ve experienced is that performance can vary hugely from one handset to another. I would be extremely hesitant to spend that much when I have no guarantee that it will perform adequately. At £3 I would probably risk it, but a demo would be better. Get me hooked and I’ll pay.

  12. Grant Says:
    April 27th, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    @PeterMalins You can! Start paying for your apps please.

  13. Marekj Says:
    April 27th, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    However you dress it up, stealing is stealing. If an app or software is made freely available that is fine, but if the developer requeswts payment, that is his or her due. One may wish to negotiate or haggle, but the right to expect payment remains. As for having to subsist on bread and sugar is terrible and society should try to prevent that from being the case, but that still does not give those who live in such a disastrous situation the right to walk into a supermarket and help themselves to food. They are expected to pay. Food IS a genuine necessity. Apps are a luxury and no-one has a right to getting everything for free. Unfortunately, present day society seems to just have rights and expectations rather than responsibilities and duties.

  14. Richard Says:
    April 27th, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    Ooooh, didn’t realise you could get Android apps for free!

  15. dave Says:
    April 27th, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    Well I don’t have games on my Android phone and only one stolen app – Slingplayer, as after buying the, relatively expensive, hardware I found that the app was ludicrously expensive, though that wasn’t the reason for nicking it. I t was because it was unavailable in my location.

    Same issue with the iOS version, though with that I got someone to buy me a UK iTunes gift card, sett up a UK iTunes account and bought it through that – what a palaver.

  16. Johnny Says:
    April 28th, 2012 at 5:21 am

    I feel like a current trend though is that people aren’t actually statistically counting. They are going “Well, it was a hit on iPhone. Why is it not a hit on Android.” “Must be pirating.”

    The numbers reflecting that, however when looked at closely, are usually misleading. Sorry your product did not do well. Don’t always blame pirating.

  17. tech3475 Says:
    April 28th, 2012 at 9:20 am

    The question that should be asked is:

    Would people buy the apps if piracy wasn’t an option?

    Are the people pirating it the sought who wouldn’t buy it but pirate it because they can?

  18. Ryan Says:
    April 28th, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Who in their right mind would buy an app which only works with one site (BitTech) and who’s biggest feature is Tapatalk integration. Which can be achieved for all the forums you read by spending the same on Tapatalk. Piracy’s not the problem with that app, it was a dumb/niche idea to begin with.

  19. dubiou Says:
    April 28th, 2012 at 11:30 am

    However you dress it up, piracy is not stealing. Furthermore, there are times when stealing can be morally justified; Robin Hood didn’t become a folk hero by being universally detested for his “crimes”. Your narrowminded perspective seems poorly reasoned.

  20. Richard Says:
    April 28th, 2012 at 11:58 am

    For some reason my longer and more complete post was ‘lost’. I will summarise. Many buy Android telephones because they are priced at a more sensible point on the spectrum. Lacking cash to waste they do not all steal by using so called pirate software but they often end up with rubbish applications. My daughter had to remove all applications and completely reset her phone when cheap but paid for applications blocked incoming calls. I have no need for or expectation of ever having any ‘applications’ though I may well need to replace my ageing Nokia at some point and will be forced towards a modern short battery life so called smart phone. I will not be forced to down grade it with application and would resent a screen full of junk like facebook/waste your life/music access or whatever. So an application free mobile is what I would seek, no theft, no piracy and ideally no internet access – which I have disabled on other mobiles.

  21. Graham Harris Says:
    April 28th, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    dubiou piracy is stealing. You are paying nothing for something of value. Only narrow minded Linux freaks believe that all software should be free and open source. Equally if apps were not (sometimes) ludicrously expensive then piracy rates would drop. Equally if we paid nothing for everything then the world would not be able to function.

  22. Mark Thompson Says:
    April 28th, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    I wonder how much is due to piracy and how much is simply due to the difference between iPhones being owned by better off people (premium phone) and android being owned by a wider range of income groups (premium, mid-range and budget offerings) and the extra steps one takes to pay for apps on android.

  23. dave Says:
    April 29th, 2012 at 12:08 am

    @dubiou Heads-up mate, hate to break it to you but Robin Hood is a fictional character.
    Basing an argument on a work of fiction is bonkers. Let me guess, you’re still in your teens?

  24. Joseph Says:
    April 29th, 2012 at 10:19 am

    The mobile app model is dead, get over it. Any non game or graphically intensive program can be done via html5. And real gamers would rather play a decent game on desktop or console. Even 1 euro is too much for a mobile program, if you charge 1 euro 10,000 people might get it. If you charge 10cents, then 100,000 people will buy it. You will never capture 100% of the market. It is the fault of the publishers for making such terrible software, and expecting android users to buy it like isheep.

  25. dubiou Says:
    April 30th, 2012 at 8:14 am

    I think you misunderstood my point; whether or not Robin Hood is fictional (the lore may be based on an actual person), the public sentiment is the relevant issue – the public ARE real people on the whole. The moral judgements made by real people, whether relating to actual or imagined events (Bible anyone?), are equally valid.
    So no, I must deny your “bonkers” assertion – and refute your “teenager” inference – I’m beyond the point that is referred to as the age that life begins.

  26. dubiou Says:
    April 30th, 2012 at 8:28 am

    @Graham Harris
    I am not here to serve as a dictionary. If you’d care to use one, we can discuss why you are wrong. Unless you’re an ISP marketer, in which case I’d rather deal with ‘unlimited’.

  27. Peter Malins Says:
    April 30th, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Grant Says:
    April 27th, 2012 at 5:48 pm
    @PeterMalins You can!

    I CANT my UK carrier THREE does not support this

    Otherwise I would be tempted.

  28. Ipodderx Says:
    April 30th, 2012 at 10:39 am

    That’s a very terrible analogy. Robin hood only steals from the rich and corrupted. How does that description fix the apps dev who are earning their honest money here? How does the “poor” applies to each and every apps user?

    Smart apps are luxury item, but food and money ain’t. You can survive without smartphone, but not without food, and the money to buy food and other basic necessities. Its not stealing from rich and giving to the poor here. Its stealing money from random companies and giving to everyone irregardless of rich or poor. Lets not use it to justify piracy or stealing here.

  29. DaveyK Says:
    April 30th, 2012 at 11:27 am

    I agree with the comments so far about Ubisoft. I refuse to buy Ubisoft games because they use some of the most restrictive, damaging and draconian DRM around. On the other hand, I’ll happily pay for games from Valve, Bethesda, etc. because although they use DRM, they take a far more balanced and customer-friendly line with it. DRM always gets cracked anyway by those who are willing to pirate games. Ubisoft’s approach however just succeeds in driving away potential paying customers as well.

  30. dubiou Says:
    April 30th, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    Please read comment 19; I am not applying Robin Hood to this situation at all, just to assert that stealing (which doesn’t include piracy anyway) can be justified in some cases.

  31. Silver Fang Says:
    April 30th, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    I don’t mind paying for an app I really like. What I do mind however is the 15-minute limit on refunds. That’s just not long enough, especially with apps that require additional downloads, like some games.

    At any rate, I think it’s nice when there’s a free, ad-supported version of the app one can try and if that works well, then pay for the full app with no limits or ads.

    I can understand pirating outrageously expensive programs *cough*Photoshop*cough*. But to pirate something that generally costs under $5 is simply killing the goose that lays the golden egg, as that will drive devs to iPhone and Windows.

  32. Ipodderx Says:
    May 2nd, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    If it is not related here, perhaps you shouldnt bring it up here to twist the fact the piracy is stealing

  33. Garreth Says:
    May 2nd, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    I have to say when I worked as an IT tech at a high school, Football manager was one of the most frequently copied games I discovered when sweeping the servers for contraband and space hogging files.

    Is it easy to copy, too expensive, or do the kids just not have enough money?
    Or is it not portable enough?

    Not that I’m saying kids should be playing games on school machines anyway (well in school time anyway heh heh).

  34. dubiou Says:
    May 3rd, 2012 at 1:19 am

    Damn sight more related than your trolling, irregardless [sic]

  35. Drusantia Says:
    May 3rd, 2012 at 7:26 am

    You can do against piracy. Write apps better. There’s the licensing library that you can use, or release an add-supported version of your software on the market and link the full one on your site where the user can pay via PayPal forint it and download. You can register his/her google-account email address during that and do a check in the app in your database forint the email the user has on his /her device. This way even if they repack the app into apk and put it on a torrent site, only registered costumers can actually use the program. = developer:piracy 1:0 :-) (i also buy apps from the market, bought about 50-55 so far, and leave the adds in the free apps even i could easily block them with one of my paid apps.)

  36. Drusantia Says:
    May 3rd, 2012 at 7:28 am

    *”forint” would be “for”, stupid autocomplete

  37. Tim Says:
    May 3rd, 2012 at 11:02 am

    No matter how you try to distort the semantics of it piracy is NOT stealing.

    However it’s still wrong in most contexts, especially in the context of the low asking prices for Android apps, which are usually no more expensive than a coffee.

  38. Tony Coleby Says:
    May 3rd, 2012 at 11:24 am

    I have removed my card details from Google Play since they make it too easy to ‘accidentally’ make in-game purchases. Some developers abuse this and G don’t care so for this reason, I ain’t buying.

  39. Void Says:
    May 3rd, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Piracy is mostly related to people who can;t afford to buy an app or maybe doesn’t have a way to buy it. I know a lot of people who doesn’t have a credit card , and so, are not able to buy from the Play store. And when they search for an app, the see a pirated “full version”.

    Most of the apps are really cheap and it is sad to see that they are pirated. Majority of apps are below 2$.

    I really think a support for Paypal or some other way, and not just google check out and credit cards, would really boost the number of apps bought.

    @Drusantia checking for registered users is valid not always practical. Most people play games when they don;t have wi-fi or any other data connection. So, checking for the gmail account would be not possible under the circumstance.

    If piracy have to be stopped, we all would have to start agreeing with SOPA and PIPA and their kinds, but that would do more harm than good.

  40. Stefan Says:
    May 3rd, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Piracy doesn’t exist unless the target audience of the program can be reasonably expected to understand the 37 pages of raving legalize that come with ‘modern’ games copyright notices.

    Also, the companies most complaining about piracy are those that pirate user data freely and make it prerequisite for using their software. They call it DRM, but it’s just piracy, really: they steal into your PC pick up whatever *they* think, steal it, and send it back to the company for whatever use *they* consider to be ok.

    Even if these companies don’t do anything actually harmful with these data, they notoriously neglect to properly protect them.

    IMNSHO those companies should be held fully responsible for any instance of data theft, be it data that a user has not explicitely and knowingly sent to the company and that has been used in any other way than to ensure that the user can use a given products functionality in full, or be it data that has been compromised and used in a harmful way due to the neglect of the company.

    Until all of the above has been dealt with in a satisfactory way for the users, these companies have no rights at all to claim piracy is hurting their business. Foremost, they are the offending party, not the users who are trying to defend themselves from that.

  41. Tom Parish Says:
    May 3rd, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    I don’t see how this could possibly be related to cost (except when it’s a sat nav app costing £50 when Google Maps does it free and better). How many £2 apps for our £400 smartphones do you really think we can’t afford?

    Frankly I can’t even be bothered to look for pirated copies of an Android app that’s probably got a free version available anyway, or if not there will be a free alternative that someone else has made (possibly by replicating the paid app’s source code), and even if that fails, it’s only £2 to buy the paid version anyway.

    I’ve only ever bought two Android apps, Juice Defender Ultimate and Ulysse Speedometer Pro, both times because the free version was amazing, but missing a couple of extra features that I would find very useful.

    I saw my £1.75 purchase as my tiny investment in future updates to that product. You wouldn’t get Windows 8 for free from Microsoft if you bought Windows 7!

    In the case of Ulysse I’ve found their dev team (which may only be one person in his bedroom!) to be very welcoming of user feedback and bug reports. I don’t know if iPhone apps get updated and improved so frequently?

    However, I most certainly have not even considered paying for any app that doesn’t have a free version available – that’s Apple’s business model – and so by that logic, I would never consider downloading games.

    I wonder what Roxio have to say about all this? They are surely the best informed developer of the lot as surely every Android user has downloaded Angry Birds at some point (for free) so they will know the clickthrough rates, compared to their revenue from the iPhone app sales.

  42. daf Says:
    May 3rd, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    I’ve now read one of the most stupid arguments I think I’ve ever encountered: “10% of users pirate so we won’t be making apps for the other 90%”. So an average “sale price” of $0 is preferred over $0.90 for a $1 app? Braindead.

    Personally, I buy good apps. I don’t like AD-supported versions, so if I like something, I buy it if it’s reasonably priced for what it is and how much I would use it. Otherwise I uninstall it. Thieves will always steal and there I’d just as much issue on iPhones because, after jailbreaking, there’s nothing stopping you installing pirated wares. Any attempt to stop pirates just makes pirates smarter and inconveniences your paying clients. Have these people not observed the success of initiatives like The Humble Bundle? When your product is good, people pay. If it’s not, people don’t. And there are some people who will just never pay, but excluding the whole because of these people is counter-productive.

    Go learn a lesson from Valve. If your software us just being pirated, you’re doing it wrong. And quitting the game drops your profits more and just leaves potential customers for someone else.

  43. disdanes Says:
    May 3rd, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    I think what people fail to realize is how important brand loyalty is especially in such an over saturated space as the Android app store. Developers should let people pirate their apps, and should make the point of entry extremely low but provide an amazing experience so the user will be like :holy shit this is an amazing app I use all the time or a game that I really love! When the time comes for you to release the next version or come out with another game, then you add a cash shop and ad support. There is so much monetization developers can do with ads, that increase brand loyalty (put ads at the end of a level and if they click/watch/do they can earn your cash shop) and once you have a brand people respect and recognize, you are able to convert a large portion of the population to paying users. There will always be a portion that will not pay, and not give you a dime no matter what, usually they are the most critical of free apps, but if you can change their mind about your brand/app then you have succeeded in getting water out of a rock and have earned your money. Developers need to get out of the mindset of building an app and thinking their going to get rich quick. Indie developers who depend on that money know how important brand loyalty is, and how hard it is to get so they will do whatever they can to get that good experience.

  44. Timothy Says:
    May 3rd, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    What an insulting article. Frankly, if an app developer won’t develop on the most popular mobile platform because he or she is afraid of piracy, then I would like to hand them the tiniest violin. I will not miss the app and don’t care if they never come to the platform because there are probably 100 other similar and better apps already there for me. Good riddance!

  45. Ben Says:
    May 3rd, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Blame the people that promote opensource and freeware apps and makes users think they are entitled to get stuff for free, be it via legitimate means or not

  46. JimMNH Says:
    May 3rd, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Some people will pay, some will not. I always pay for things I use and always have. I am an Android fan. There is a base of people that pay on the PC side too .. including myself .. even for things that don’t exist yet .. just look at KickStarter. If it is good people will pay for it to ensure that it continues to exist and gets better. Make it good and you’ll get the support.

  47. Ed Says:
    May 3rd, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    I’d like to mention I have downloaded pirated copies of android apps. But hear me out.
    I have always been a “piracy” supporter and believe the business model presented to us is antiquated and no longer applicable to an age with internet (not that the Android/iPhone business model is wrong, but that the entire view on economy including speculative markets and bond payments, etc..), yet I will allow that if this is the model that we are given, for the sake of the developer on the other side, I will accept to pay.
    It should not be any news though that not all pirated copies are lost sales… I would never have played certain games if it was not available for free, I would instead have downloaded something else, or nothing entirely.
    But even now that I’ve come to the acceptance that I must pay for the things I consume in order for that developer to make better/cooler games, I still CANNOT pay for them…
    Living in South America and not having a credit card (only debit card) I am only allowed to buy certain apps, and even then the only accepted method of payment is a credit card.
    I vowed never to use a credit card because I believe the system is wrong and as such I prefer to have my money before purchasing anything (house / car payment not applicable). So unless I dive into a business system I prefer to stay away from, unless I decide to blindly try apps before I give my money to someone, unless I move to another country, I cannot buy all the apps I want to buy.

    Piracy exists because of 2 reasons:
    1) High prices for a low value.
    2) Unequal buyer’s rights for different people around the world.
    Ever wondered how most piracy happens in China or Russia or South America… guess why? Because things are charged over twice the original amount in these places (electronic equipment is worst.. an iPhone in Argentina can cost up to US$850 WITH a carrier plan binding you for 2 years… Over US$2400 unblocked)..
    Solution to piracy: Make all buyers equal!

  48. Stefan Says:
    May 3rd, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    @43: That’s a rather self-defeating argument:

    The vast majority of mobile apps is developed using *free* software development tools! Most of them wouldn’t even exist if developers had to pay through their nose for it.

  49. Mike Says:
    May 3rd, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    I have bought a few apps on my Blackberry Playbook ( a platform not mentioned in the article ) which now has some support for Android apps as well as the native BB format, and have also downloaded a number of free apps. There have been a number of apps that I have promptly uninstalled because they appear to have been created in a hurry, and are next to useless (I’ll call them Crapps rather than Apps). The blame for this kind of thing, whether on Blackberry, Android, iOS or Windows… isn’t with the OS or the hardware platform, but with the developers. I think most honest people will be willing to pay a few dollars for a good app.

    We have to consider that most people that pirate software, whether apps or full blown computer application suites, have no intention of paying — if they couldn’t get a pirated copy they just would not use the software, so the argument about lost revenue is not that strong – it’s akin to book publishers complaining about public libraries lending books out for free. I am not in any way advocating or making excuses for pirates – this is just how I see things. In fact, I really hate those who make illegal copies for reselling cheap — now THIS is theft, and in keeping with the book analogy, it’s like selling photocopies of a book’s pages.

    What we need is quality product that the honest majority will be willing to pay a little bit for.

  50. yeah, right Says:
    May 3rd, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    dubiou Says:
    “However you dress it up, piracy is not stealing.”

    What are they teaching kids these days. Of course it’s STEALING. And DRM is the price that we all pay because of you and the other leaches that think like you. Taking something that does not belong to you IS stealing EVERY time (unless you have permission from the owner.)

  51. Almadar Says:
    May 3rd, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    Well, the developers do incur in costs to produce apps, even if its only their time, that could be directed elsewhere and try to make money. Not saying I agree with their statement, I’m just saying it’s not as simple as you put it.

  52. JakeB Says:
    May 3rd, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    Personally I grew up in the time when theft was still considered depriving someone the use of something because you took it for yourself. Copying to me has never equaled theft. Not in music when I shared mixed tapes or cds with friends, not in pictures of art I hung on the wall, not in shows on my tivo, not in software that I try before I buy. That being said, though, I always pay for things I enjoy. I bought Plants vs Zombies on my phone then was told my Asus tablet that had more than twice the specs of my phone was not powerful enough to run the app. Found it in 30 seconds online and installed the pirated version on the tablet. Am I going to lose a second of sleep over it? Not a chance.

  53. UbuntuMan Says:
    May 3rd, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    Good article and good point.

    There are many alternatives to each app, some free some not. Don’t see the point on pirating something that worth $.99 (you cheap b@#$%^!!)

  54. TearsTheWingsOffAngels Says:
    May 3rd, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    Boggles the mind, it does. “Copying to me has never equaled theft.” “The business model presented to us is antiquated.” And the crowning one, “Some people can’t afford to pay.”

    If you don’t like to pay, if the business model doesn’t suit you, if you can’t afford the price, these are not reasons to stiff a software developer. Write the app yourself, or find some other app where the price or whatever suits you better.

    But copying software so that you can use it without paying for it, that’s taking bread out of the mouths of the software developer’s kids. Whatever you think it ought to be called, it’s theft.

  55. Roy Pemberton Says:
    May 4th, 2012 at 1:03 am

    It’s as simple as this – those of you who only want what you can get for free are a bunch of cheapskates.
    Why on earth should you expect somebody, often an individual with limited resources, to put their time in to developing the app without any prospect of remuneration for that work? Would you wash the car of everybody who demands you do so for free? You can’t refuse any (because you are, after all, demanding the right to download the app for free without allowing the developer the right to refuse to supply it).
    Having your car washed is a luxury, so is a phone app.
    Those of you arguing against this article also seem to be missing the point that all it’s saying is that if they can’t obtain a reasonable return on the work they’ve put in, developers are just not going to do it. It’s stating a reality, not a judgement. So what do you want to do about it? Compel them to provide the apps whether they want to or not, and whether they’re suitably rewarded for their effort or not? I’d like to see how you intend to do that.
    Seems to me that some thought needs to be put in to who are the real bullies in this scenario.

  56. Roy Pemberton Says:
    May 4th, 2012 at 1:12 am

    Jim MNH – you say “Make it good, and you’ll get the support”. Frankly, I feel that’s somewhat naive and not bourne out by the reviews I see on Google Play (Android Marketplace as was). I just looked at an app to print direct over wi-fi or bluetooth from your android device. They don’t even charge for the basic app that does that. They only ask that you pay for a key if you want to print over a network. Every review agreed that the app works brilliantly, reliably and as described first time, every time, yet no end of them went on to say how unhappy they were that they had to pay to be able to print to a network. The cost of the key is £8.75. For such a useful utility , if you want to use your phone for docs etc. and that appears to be universally recognised as of high quality, I would say that’s very reasonable.
    Clearly the article is right – the android community has a high volume of cheapskates, freeloaders, whatever you want to call them.

  57. Roy Pemberton Says:
    May 4th, 2012 at 1:15 am

    JakeB – you say that copying is not theft because it does not deprive someone the use of something because you take it, but it does – it deprives them of the remuneration they should reasonably be able to expect for their work. If you’re not comfortable with the word theft (because of an argument based on semantics) then let’s try slavery – that’s what we call demanding that people work for no remuneration.

  58. DavidW Says:
    May 4th, 2012 at 7:44 am

    TearsTheWingsOffAngels: But murdering, that’s taking bread out of the mouths of the software developer’s kids. Whatever you think it ought to be called, it’s theft.

    I hope you get irony.
    Murdering is murdering, theft is theft and piracy is piracy.

  59. Shed_Dweller Says:
    May 4th, 2012 at 8:03 am

    After spending a couple of hours last night trying to comply with ubisofts DRM, I decided no game is worth that much stuffing about and having to blow holes in my firewall.

    I don’t want to play online and have some twit ruin what I see as light hearted entertainment. I just wanted to play the game I bought in the shop.

    I will be uninstalling it tonight along with all of ubisofts and valves rubish. I will also close the holes in my fire wall and go looking for the DRM free pirated version. If I can find it easily and if it comes up as free of malware I may play it.

    No software that does not provide an income stream for me is worth any more of my time and effort than that. Don’t bother trying to argue with what I feel my time is worth. This kind of rubbish is just not worth it to me.

    If a developer/company creats something for others to use and then makes it difficult to get/install/use/pay for/live with/use for its intended purpose
    why should should I reward them.
    To use a car analogy, you wouldn’t accept buying a car only to find the doors were welded shut to fix a broken hinge.
    There would be an outcry, the goverment regulators would intervene and it would be replaced with a car that has a better hinge design and working doors.
    In my opinion, from what I have seen: Good indie developers are generally appauled that there is a problem with their creation or the users expirience with their creation and fix it ASAP.
    However, continueing the car analogy, companies like ubisoft insist you pay for the faulty car and will sue you if they find you trying to see if the doors work before you buy it.
    They will then insist on pulling you over whenever you try to leave your driveway to make sure you are the original purchaser of the car and follow you everywhere you go to make sure you’re only using it on the approved streets, plastering your windshield with ads for their other models whenever you stop at the lights, while selling your address and driving habits to the car accessory companies.
    Again, why should I reward this?

    Your milage may vary.

  60. dubiou Says:
    May 4th, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    The displays of blind adherence to media industry doctrine combined with expression of baseless opinion as fact and ad hominem argument leaves me convinced that everyone who insists piracy is theft is a fkwt

  61. Amber Says:
    May 4th, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    However you dress it up, stealing is stealing. Well, in order for something to have been stolen, the owner had to have been deprived of something that he/she previous had possession of, and now does not. Does the owner still have as much money as before the “theft”? Yes, so no money was stolen. Does the owner still have their game software? Yes, so the game wasn’t stolen. Hmmm. Seems some people need to look up the definition of theft before they start accusing people of stealing. What an undocumented user is doing is called infringement, not theft. (Notice I said “undocumented”, not “pirate”. Pirates steal (really steal) things and kill people. You can tell them by the pile of loot and dead bodies that gather around them)

  62. dubiou Says:
    May 7th, 2012 at 9:53 am

    While not specifically dealing with Android apps, or indeed software in general, this article regarding the disinformation and hyperbole surrounding copyright infringement is a must-read:

  63. Noni Says:
    May 16th, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    The problem I have with paying for Android apps is that, outside of Europe and North America (and a few other places), some people get no end of grief trying to pay for apps. Some legitimate bank cards do not work in Google Play; many apps can’t’ be paid for through Paypal and even if they could, people don’t have access to it or are blocked from it. If developers have a problem with the “freeloaders” on Android, as was mentioned before do a limited version of the app, enough to get the user thinking “wow”. As a rule I hate the ad-version apps and avoid or block them. I have some ads which are solely ad-versions, there is no way to pay for them to get rid of the apps. Is that the developers fault or a necessary evil?

  64. terroare Says:
    May 20th, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Two words: Quality and less updates.
    Why I have to update today to update it tomorrow ? Too many apps on the market use the users as testers, if you don’t have money to pay testers, than test them yourself. Another problem are ad-ware included with the apps, I saw too many apps that have hidden notification that pops up to tell you about a game or app, and prompt you to download it, reaction ? uninstall! Put yourself in the users skin and you will see what I’m talking about. And don’t come with such non-sense as piracy, if the user likes your app, he will buy it.

  65. Jeff Says:
    May 26th, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    There are many people like myself who simply won’t pay for data unless it comes with their hardware. Is your app son wonderful that Google wants to buy it to distribute it with every Android phone? If not, then you’re gonna see some piracy.

    That said, I’ve finally started buying some open source android applications. I earn enough to buy the apps, but I hate supporting closed source developers, so I’ll pirate those. Instead, I’ll make a point of buying the open source apps that look interesting, even if I’ll only use them rarely.

  66. Digital Publishing Says:
    July 24th, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Theres nothing like piracy or stealing..Just make your app worth paying

  67. ABC-Z System Eko Says:
    September 27th, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Terrific work! That is the type of information that are supposed to be shared across the
    internet. Disgrace on Google for now not positioning this publish upper!

    Come on over and visit my site . Thank you =)


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