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iPhone devs complain about piracy

iPhone devs complain about piracy

According to developer Smells Like Donkey as many as 90 percent of Tap-Fu players are using a pirated copy.

iPhone developer Smells Like Donkey, creator of the recent Tap-Fu fighting game, have claimed that the iPhone platform is rampant with piracy - and that Apple is being very slow to respond to the issue.

Astonishingly, research done by the development team reveals that as many as 90 percent of players are using pirated copies of Tap-Fu. In the game's second week of sale a detailed analysis of the high score tables revealed that between 55 and 90 percent of users were playing a pirated version.

The team, speaking on their official website, also found that pirated versions of the game were available online within 40 minutes of the official release.

Smells Like Donkey has also gone on to do a comparison of iPhone device IDs, tracked against the number of players who downloaded pirate copies from sites - the idea being to see if those who pirate the game do later go on to buy a full copy. Apparently there's a zero percent conversion rate.

Apple has been "fairly slow to respond" according to the team, who predict that developers will be forced to take matters into their own hands in the future - though that'll be done through blocking online functionality rather than through vigilante justice, apparently.

Smells Like Donkey says it's first step will be to post an in-game message asking players to buy the game if they enjoy the pirated version.

"The pirates have essentially removed themselves from the iTunes economy and that hurts everyone," it commented. "How much does it hurt? Probably not a whole lot. There's probably a few of these people that would have bought our game in the first place so it's not really a big deal."

Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

24 Comments

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MaverickWill 26th October 2009, 13:41 Quote
My thoughts?

While the pirates do suck (especially if this means some kind of Draconian DRM clampdown on mobile handsets), we're not seeing any real figures here. I mean, 55 to 90%? COME ON! My 3-year-old nephew could give more accurate estimates than that!

We don't know whether the game sold 10 copies, or 10,000. We also don't know how much time was spent developing it. If it took 5 minutes to cobble together and sold hundreds/thousands of copies, they're still in the money.

Perhaps we do need DRM, but not to the point where it's noticeable. The unique phone number's a good starting point.

Oh, and an iPhone dev saying Apple suck? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA...etc
eek 26th October 2009, 13:44 Quote
Quote:
there's a zero percent conversion rate.
No surprises there. Given that most games have 'lite' versions, if you want to try before you buy then you can. Only those who have no intention of buying the app are going to pirate.

I am surprised at how rampant it is though. 90% is a massive figure. Given the generally low cost of games (especially when compared to the total cost of phone ownership) there is no excuse!!

If this many people are reluctant to spend a quid on game, it doesn't bode well for the sony psp where games are going to be much more expensive!!
will. 26th October 2009, 13:45 Quote
How many out of the total number of iPhone users have actually jailbroken their phones? I'm betting not that many.

If anything these stats show the game isn't popular. If only a small minority who have pirated it make up 90% of the players then they need to make a better game :p
eek 26th October 2009, 13:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaverickWill
Perhaps we do need DRM, but not to the point where it's noticeable. The unique phone number's a good starting point.
I don't know about you, but I don't find DRM on the app store noticeable. I load up the store, download a game and job done.

It's all tied to the itunes account rather than phone number so if people are sharing logins or have multiple phones then the numbers are likely to be completely wrong
cjoyce1980 26th October 2009, 13:53 Quote
oh dear.... welcome to the world
AshT 26th October 2009, 14:05 Quote
Their next game should include features (lots of them) that are unavailable unless the game can be authorised online as a genuine product.

The games cost hardly anything. The mobile/flash devs need the cash to keep going. It's a no brainer. Make it impossible to pirate them.
Ross1 26th October 2009, 14:18 Quote
lmao, wanky developers looking for a quick buck who decide the iphone is a great place for shovelware get pissed when people dont want to pay for the crap they put out.
wuyanxu 26th October 2009, 14:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by will.
How many out of the total number of iPhone users have actually jailbroken their phones? I'm betting not that many.

If anything these stats show the game isn't popular. If only a small minority who have pirated it make up 90% of the players then they need to make a better game :p
just over 8% to be exact, provided by Cydia (jailbroken version of Appstore, no piracy in it) creator based on Cydia usage.

the iphone apps already have DRM. in OS 1.x, all application open almost instantly, and now after introduction of the Appstore, all application (including the calculator) have a small delay after the app finishes its "zoom in" animation.


in-app DRM is being used by some developers, but most involve sending the phone ID and even user information back to game server. i urge everyone to not support this kind of behaviour as it's a clear privacy intrusion.
a very good example of spyware is PinchMedia, it's been exposed here and the only way to combat is to either don't use those applications or to jailbreak the phone and install a host file that blocks such connection attempts.
perplekks45 26th October 2009, 14:57 Quote
As long as Apple doesn't make jailbreaking impossible or at least a bit harder people will continue like this. I mean, how long does it take you to jailbreak your iPhone? 1 hour max, if you're doing it for the first time and did some reading beforehand.

And saying we need stronger DRM/control? It's Apple you're talking about. They're the ****ing godfathers of DRM!
AshT 26th October 2009, 15:49 Quote
Love the way a story of a dev suffering massive piracy has turned into a bash Apple campaign and counting "Stop the draconian DRM" banners.
perplekks45 26th October 2009, 17:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AshT
Love the way a story of a dev whining has turned into a bash Apple campaign and counting "Stop the draconian DRM" banners.
Fixed that for you.
AshT 26th October 2009, 18:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by perplekks45
Quote:
Originally Posted by AshT
Love the way a story of a dev suffering massive piracy has turned into a bash Apple campaign and counting "Stop the draconian DRM" banners.
Not only am I young and stupid, but I also think the world owes me a living. I support piracy and see no problem in taking everything and anything for free even when I don't deserve it and haven't worked for it.

It's ok, there are many more on these forums just like you, you will grow up ... eventually, and with age and maturity you will also find a happy medium and possibly a wage, and then you won't need to steal, and you will appreciate the work a small dev team puts into their software.

You will probably always bash Apple and DRM, but that's because you are a cock. It's fine, we accept you as you are.
bahgger 26th October 2009, 18:54 Quote
Sorta off topic, but is Tap Fu any good? I just got a 3GS and am loving my apps suddenly given new life because they run smoother and are generally more enjoyable to play.
perplekks45 26th October 2009, 20:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AshT
It's ok, there are many more on these forums just like you, you will grow up ... eventually, and with age and maturity you will also find a happy medium and possibly a wage, and then you won't need to steal, and you will appreciate the work a small dev team puts into their software.

You will probably always bash Apple and DRM, but that's because you are a cock. It's fine, we accept you as you are.
And you're who exactly to be able to talk down to me?

I don't support piracy but I don't know why every single developer on earth, no matter how crappy their product might be, blames poor sales on piracy.

And please stop getting personal. I don't bash Apple for anything other than widely known facts [if you say, they aren't on the forefront of DRM I'll just have to laugh in your face though they've gotten a lot better recently]. I think DRM in most forms nowerdays is a bad joke. More hurting all customers than protecting the honest ones.

You don't know me, you don't know anything about my age, my job, my wage or the way I live, do you? If there's something YOU should learn it's that you should NEVER judge someone's character or way of life by the way his/her posts are written. This is the Internet, after all.

For future reference: I'm 25, BSc CS, working in the IT department of Bwin.com.

Cheers,
the cock
Saivert 26th October 2009, 22:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by perplekks45

...
If there's something YOU should learn it's that you should NEVER judge someone's character or way of life by the way his/her posts are written. This is the Internet, after all.
...

@perplekks45: Unfortunately we can only judge by what you write. And we WILL judge no matter what you say. This is the internet, after all.
perplekks45 26th October 2009, 22:20 Quote
Still I don't see the need to get personal.

And if people like John, Cheapskate, Mankz or EEL jdged me by what iwrite they'd think I'm a lunatic.
Saivert 26th October 2009, 22:30 Quote
except that these people don't want to condone piracy and they thought you condoned it because you implied it earlier with your tone.

Be a bit more verbose next time you write stuff here. And be clear about how you feel about things.

Anyways I don't care much about iPhone or its "games".
AshT 26th October 2009, 23:16 Quote
For future reference perp your age, location and BSc (btw, a BSc is not a measure of your intelligence nor common sense) is in your Bit Tech forum profile.

I apologise for calling you a cock.

Maybe next time you can refrain from feeling the need to alter my posts and draw me into an argument with you? Of course you are welcome to your views that iPhone devs might be whiners about piracy. I would like to remnd you that these people you are slagging off work in an industry that helps drive the technology that we've all been enjoying for the last few years. A tech that is still in it's infancy and about to go skyward with the new tablets, touchscreens and touch software to be released over the coming years.

Taking the more conservative lower percentage from the news story, thIs is still totally unacceptable. If I spend my days, weeks, months making any sort of software then I would like to be able to earn from it and invest in my company as well. I assume you'd like to put that BSc to good use as well? Are you ok with working for free?
BenInJapan 27th October 2009, 04:39 Quote
I don't support Piracy in anyway. I does sound slightly odd that 90% of users used pirated copies. Perhaps it could be seen as an excuse. 'This games great honest, It didn't sell?...erm.....erm....PIRACY!...Yes....Piracy!'

Piracy on the iPhone if I'm being honest, does not really bother me, I live in Japan at the moment, and the IPhone is massive here as in the UK. Piracy on the PC, that bothers me because its killing the industry. I do feel for Dev teams though.

Maybe extra content, or lite versions as somebody previously said could be the way forward.
JJB 27th October 2009, 05:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by perplekks45
As long as Apple doesn't make jailbreaking impossible or at least a bit harder people will continue like this. I mean, how long does it take you to jailbreak your iPhone? 1 hour max, if you're doing it for the first time and did some reading beforehand.

And saying we need stronger DRM/control? It's Apple you're talking about. They're the ****ing godfathers of DRM!

You don't own an iPhone/aren't into the jailbreaking community are you...

First of all, every time a jailbreak comes out, the guys at apple begin work figuring out what exploit was used and patch it up for the next firmware update. The most recent firmware, 3.1(.2), was out for a few weeks before most people could jailbreak their iPhone on it.
han
Also, jailbreaking takes far less than an hour. Try less than 10 seconds once you have downloaded the less than 1mb program. You plug in your phone, click "make it ra1n", wait about 5 seconds, and when your phone reboots, it's jailbroken. I don't know what you could possibly be doing for it to take an hour.

Also, I'm pretty sure EA is the granddaddy of DRM at this point. :P And for the personal attacks thing, the phrase you are looking for is "Ad hominem" ;)
perplekks45 27th October 2009, 09:04 Quote
Okay, I apologize if I looked/sounded like a cock.

Let's just start anew and say that I don't like devs blaming piracy when their products just suck and I don't support piracy.

BF4LIFE? :p :D
AshT 27th October 2009, 11:50 Quote
Having paid £1.19 for the game and played it I can say it has got the expected level of detail and work that I have been trying to champion. Lastly if you go to their website and read exactly what they say, you will see they are saddened by the lack of support from all sides, inc Apple and the dishonest gamers. However, the blog is written with dignity and a great deal of consideration.

I'm guessing you haven't played/payed for the game perp otherwise you would have seen the quality of the game for yourself and understood the time and effort it took. As for the other app available that the dev has made, its free. Go figure.
ZERO <ibis> 27th October 2009, 17:03 Quote
Also I wonder how many of the people that pirated the game even use iTunes. Personally I would format my computer before I installed that app. I would much rather buy it online direct from the maker of the game.

I think the idea of blocking scores and asking users to buy the game will get good results. People will play it and be like well for a few $ I can have my scores post and get rid of these messages. ;)
perplekks45 27th October 2009, 20:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AshT
I'm guessing you haven't played/payed for the game perp otherwise you would have seen the quality of the game for yourself and understood the time and effort it took. As for the other app available that the dev has made, its free. Go figure.
I believe you that this game might be worth it but my statement was more something about the majority of all devs who blame piracy, because I really think piracy is just an easy scapegoat today. I haven't played it yet, maybe I never will. The whole story got me interested though so again, every publicity is good publicity, eh? :)
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