Well designed apps that integrate well into operating system lies in the heart of developing a viable
tablet platform. If you ask any Apple fan what they like about their handsets the overwhelming
majority will respond with “the apps”, none would actually claim they prefer the iPhone for the
hardware because Android has been producing faster and better hardware for some time now.
Miles Jacobson, MD of Sports Interactive who own the Android game Football Manager was shocked
after looking at their sales figures for the game. After 10,000 game downloads they found that there
were over 113,000 skin downloads, which were required to run the game. This firmly pointed to the
fact that recorded sales figures and actual user base were off by possibly 103,000. Which could only
be explained by the fact that the overwhelming majority of players were pirating the game.
While Miles hasn’t decided to quit on the platform, others have. Steven Sargent of Appy
Entertainment, the company behind Facefighter Gold stated that piracy rate was 70:1 on Android
compared to 3:1 for iOS. Which means for every one copy bought, there were 70 copies illegally
downloaded. This shocking discovery led the company to cease production of the app for Android
and focus solely on iOS.
Developers lie in the heart of a successful mobile platform and if developers aren’t remunerated well
for their hard work it will stop developers from producing games and look at more viable platforms.
Cracking down on privacy.
Talking of fighting Android piracy is the elephant in the room, everyone is aware of it and knows
roughly what needs to happen. But nobody is quite sure how to best approach it. For one thing,
lawsuits just wouldn’t work. RIAA aggressively clamped down on music and movie piracy, which only
tarnished the industry’s reputation and didn’t stop piracy at all.
Lydia Heitman of Com2uS states that many of their apps have modules in place which call home,
they have tracked piracy up to as much as 98% on some titles. It would be difficult to grasp how
other software houses aren’t tracking piracy in the same manner either. Com2uS tackle piracy
by acknowledging that the installed software may be pirated and locking out certain vital section
of apps can help curb piracy. Access to leader boards, online play and in-game add-ons can help
encourage users to give up piracy and install legitimate versions of apps. In effect a pirated app turns
into shareware which has been used to some success on desktop PC software.
For the survival of the Android platform piracy issues need to be tackled soon . Ultimately, it’s down
to Google to standardise the platform and make it difficult for end users to get pirated apps onto the
handset. But the challenge is whether Android can remain an open platform, or whether it has to
lean more towards the iOS platform and restrict third party app development.
The huge malware problem, crippling the platform could be a blessing in disguise. Malware such as
FakeToken post serious risk to users as they swipe bank details off handsets, this would make users
think twice about installing pirated apps on their devices. it’s simply not worth the risk of giving away
backdoor access to your device for the sake of pirating a £3 app.
Article written by Simon Butler, co-founder of Rental Tablets a UK based tablet hire company
specialising in rentals to businesses for use in trade shows and exhibitions.