Two years ago, I was riding high.
I was preparing to launch the biggest and (IMHO) best EVER version of SpikeDislike.
SpikeDislike3 was due to be, without a doubt, one of most important releases EVER.
I’d put months of work into it, and if anyone knows me, they know that that’s a HUGE amount of effort from me.
It was ready, it passed Apple Review, it launched, and then I released the Android one.
All was good!
All was golden!!
o/hurray for mobile gamingo/
My games have pricetags, because that’s how games are meant to be.
I price them as low as possible so that everyone should be able to access them, but know in my heart that not everyone can.
Pirates will be pirates, no matter what price you ask of them.
If you “Free with IAP”, they’ll stick with the free until the IAP version has been cracked.
(Additionally, for the size of my games, most of my games being of the “I’m sick of it after 10 minutes” variety, IAP’s make little or no difference. The free version is generally good enough for most players.)
This is just how Piracy is, and nothing I can ever do will change that.
If people honestly cannot afford, then they honestly won’t.
Goodness know the high percentile of my Amiga collection that exists on previously blank floppies, from mates, using the joys of XCopy.
I am not one to argue about Piracy.
I never will be.
I have no right to do so.
So SpikeDislike3 launched, and it performed ok, and the pirates got their mitts on it, but generally people seemed to enjoy it.
Then a user on Twitter pointed out to me that my game was being sold on the Amazon store.
.. The Amazon store?! I didn’t put it on the Amazon store!?
I checked, and yes, there it was.
Bold as brass with someone else’s name on it.
They were earning profits. They didn’t have to do a damn thing.
This wasn’t some kid hanging out with his classmates showing them the latest new games.
This wasn’t Piracy like it oughta be.
This was a whole other level of horror.
This is the age of eBay scalpers, and money grabbing wannabes, taking things that others have made, and profiting liberally from the contents.
I was shocked to my very core.
I tried a number of ways to distract from this, including (horrifically given my usual no-advertising stance) slapping a great big advert on the app, to dissuade people from paying for the thing.
But honestly, there’s not a lot I could do to fix this.
Given the number of games I create, multiplied by the number of 100% LEGAL Android Stores that they could be uploaded to by anyone, if I continued in this way, I’d need to scan hundreds of search pages every single day, checking to see if any more of my games had been stolen in this manner.
On iOS it’s easier. The AppStore is the AppStore. If people want to scan “The other market (Cydia and it’s world)” then.. in general.. they’re probably not going to want to pay the same price for a game that’s already on the AppStore.
Piracy is controlled, mostly to the levels of schoolyard piracy.
On Android, it’s quite frankly out of control.
I cannot, in all honesty, keep up with own output of games. Heck, it’s hard enough as it is. I just can’t stop making bloody games!!!
I can’t scan all the sites, watch all the games, and control each and every copy that hits a marketplace.
I cannot do that alone, whilst continuing to build game after game.
It just literally is not a feasible task to ask of one single guy.
If I wasn’t a lone developer, perhaps if I had a publisher, then it’d be easier.
But even then, think of what I’m asking them to do…
For a pittance (my games sell very few, and for practically nothing) I’d be expecting someone to do the job I can’t even keep up with myself.
Searching and scanning the whole of the world of Android in search of my games, day after day, night after night.
For the money they’d make, that’s far more than their job’s worth.
Heck, they’d be better off pretending my game’s selling badly, then sticking it on Amazon themselves!!
Either my sales grow to the point where that’s worth doing (which.. Let’s face it.. ain’t going to happen any time soon) or I’m stuck in this horrible little quandary.
I don’t know how to fix this.
So, for the meantime at least, Android Mobile isn’t going to be a place I venture.
This is the best I can currently do.
If you can think of any ways that I can solve my dilemma, then please let me know, remembering that (As far as I can logically predict) IAPs aren’t the solution.