Piracy, Ad Blockers and paid vs free

Discussion in 'Public Game Developers Forum' started by Stingman, Nov 10, 2014.

  1. Stingman

    Stingman Well-Known Member
    Patreon Bronze

    Aug 14, 2012
    App / Game Developer
    The Bay Area
    So I haven't found too much info on this and thought I'd post. I'm curious if others with paid apps have had some bad experience with piracy? For my paid games I tend to deal with a lot of piracy and it's almost not worth releasing as paid simply due to the amount of people pirating the game. More likely than not I'll be going free from here on out. But then comes another issue: Ad Blockers. Now airplane mode is not something we can control. If the user turns it on then bye bye ads and so much for trying to make any cash. But ad blockers I feel you can have a little more control over : any tips from any fellow devs to work around these?

    I'm curious to see if anyone else is experiencing a high rate of piracy? I've found app download sites that list paid app .IPA files that you can download. I haven't looked into it much but I probably should. Every app you can think of is on these sites. Any receipt verification post install that people do to limit playability if the user did not actually purchase the app? I'm thinking of looking into something like this.
  2. Xammond

    Xammond Well-Known Member

    Mar 22, 2014
    I think you could detect if the device is broken, then go from there. Perhaps even demanding a confirmation button is pressed which sends you an email. Just some deterrent really, though I would imagine it might be better to focus on the real fans.
  3. Columbo

    Columbo Well-Known Member

    Sep 1, 2014
    IMO, it's a waste of time trying to block piracy in any way. Just concentrate on the millions of users who don't pirate.

    The only useful thing you might want to do is detect if a device is jailbroken and disable analytics for jailbroken devices, as the chances are they'll be skewing some of your statistics.
  4. Shaun C

    Shaun C Well-Known Member
    Patreon Silver

    Aug 28, 2014
    I wouldn't worry too much about ad blockers. I suspect the vast majority of people can't be bothered blocking ads, and those who do block ads were highly unlikely to click on any ad in the first place.

    So instead of dwelling on ad blockers, I'd suggest you put that time/effort/worry into polishing your game.
  5. Destined

    Destined Well-Known Member

    Aug 11, 2013
    if your game is being pirated in some ways it is a good problem, but wait until you have it!

    I generally think whatever efforts you make will hurt legit users in some unintended way and get you no more sales.
  6. megaderek

    megaderek Member

    Dec 19, 2011
    Software and Games Developer
    Adelaide, Australia
    A while ago I used a free 3rd party library / website that was supposed to do the online receipt validation for IAPs. Unfortunately most jailbroken devices with tools for faking the IAP would also block this particular website so there was no way for my app to know if the website was down or if it was being blocked. I sent result codes to my server and found quite often attempts to circumvent the IAP. At its peak maybe a few hundred per day, mostly duplicate receipts which were being fed to the app by jailbroken device tools.

    Unfortunately the 3rd party library wasn't very good, I think because it was free and I think they just gave up supporting and developing it. Often their server wouldn't be reachable or would return a failure on legitimate purchases. So while I was trialing this code live in my app I was also giving customers the benefit of the doubt and not denying any transactions but I was logging the results with my own server.

    After being frustrated with this 3rd party library I decided to implement my own receipt validation using PHP on my own servers. I had it 99% working but then Apple changed the way receipts were handled in iOS 7 and deprecated much of the receipt data structures that I was using so I chose not to upgrade the code to support the new API due to the amount of work involved.

    The most important thing you need to remember is that your app should never accidentally penalize or inconvenience legitimate customers. They are your bread and butter. Also not all pirated sales are lost sales as most would not have bought anyway.
  7. psj3809

    psj3809 Moderator

    Jan 13, 2011
    Very true, i mean if someones going to be cheap and not even buy a 99c game and pirate that wouldnt be a lost sale as they wouldnt buy it in the first place.

    I'm stunned people even pirate 99c games, i mean 99c ! How bad are things !? (puts on old mans hat) - Back in the 80's games were $12-$15 each and kids didnt have a lot of pocket money so would tape lots of game, i was one of them, do i feel guilty now ? Course i do, but back then i bought as many games as i could (not justifying it) but games were dear back then.

    Years later games are one or two dollars ! I think its embarassing when people have to pirate those cheap games !
  8. 1stSPIN

    1stSPIN Well-Known Member

    Nov 15, 2014
    Own 1stSPIN
    China / Canadian
    Unfortunately its a fact you have to deal with.
  9. mr.Ugly

    mr.Ugly Well-Known Member

    Dec 1, 2009
    Berlin, Germany
    well they do not pirate a 99 cent game with the perception of being just shy of a dollar.

    If you install some "third party" shops you do not ever get a $$$ sign anywhere, so its not like the "pirates" make a price check before downloading from source x. They just do, everything is free and cosy.

    In the end fighting piracy is a pointless effort. Instead if fighting thoose who would never pay anyway focus on your actual customers. Monetize them better, offer them better services and possibilities to help you out by spending money in your app.


Share This Page