Indie Developer: Piracy Helped Sell My Game

January 25, 2011 -

Indie developer Daniel Amitay credits piracy with a doubling of sales (thanks to The Escapist). The developer behind the iPhone game "Punch 'Em!" says that his game being pirated ultimately helped double the sales of his game. This is not what you usually hear from game developers about piracy. Punch 'Em! is a 99 cent game that lets users fight each other using the iPhone camera. He was going to write about how the holiday shopping season gave him a big boost in sales until he examined the sales data and found that it was something else driving sales: piracy.

Examining two separate 17-day periods, (Dec. 4 - 20 and Dec. 30 - Jan. 15) he found that the first period was flat, with sales slightly outpacing piracy rates. But in the second time period he found that the piracy rate was 39 percent higher. But as the rate of piracy grew so did the number of sales; he'd found that his sales doubled during the second time period.

"Throughout Punch 'Em!'s paid lifetime, I couldn't raise its sales count in the long term," he said on his blog. "So if thousands of users end up pirating my app, but hundreds buy it as a result of hearing about it from their pirate buddies, why should I cry?"

An earlier version of the game checked to see if it had been cracked and then displayed a message urging the user to purchase it. He felt that this did more harm than good because the conversion rate was zero.

So how did he know that it was piracy that drove sales and not the holiday shopping season?

"My sales increase extended well past Christmas, and is still stable," he said. "My sales increase during Christmas was well beyond the standard 2x [caused by the holidays]. My app increased in rank over the period of time that my app was pirated."

Source: The Escapist, Stray Pixels


Comments

Re: Indie Developer: Piracy Helped Sell My Game

 What I'm wondering is if the game is actually any good?

Re: Indie Developer: Piracy Helped Sell My Game

What kind of chap skate pirates a 99 cent game? Give the game creator his due, miser.

Re: Indie Developer: Piracy Helped Sell My Game

We can't let people tape radio broadcasts at home, who will buy music anymore!?

Re: Indie Developer: Piracy Helped Sell My Game

"So if thousands of users end up pirating my app, but hundreds buy it as a result of hearing about it from their pirate buddies, why should I cry?"

Because you're owed thousands of dollars from the jackasses that stole your game but hey, kudos to you for looking on the bright side.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Indie Developer: Piracy Helped Sell My Game

Glass half full, meet glass half empty. 

Re: Indie Developer: Piracy Helped Sell My Game

You are 100% missing the point. Nearly all of those people were never going to pay for this app. But the extra exposure gained through the word of mouth generated by those people pirating the app directly lead to more sales.

How do you not understand that in this case piracy=higher sales. In fact if you look at the frequent lists of most pirated games, etc, they are nearly always the highest selling as well. I won't argue cause and effect in those cases, but in this case I think it is pretty clear.

Don't be so short sighted. This guy isn't so high on his horse that he won't stoop down and pick up the extra cash that piracy directly brought him.

Re: Indie Developer: Piracy Helped Sell My Game

"Nearly all of those people were never going to pay for this app."

So?  They still pirated it.  Therefore, each of them owe this guy 99 cents.

"But the extra exposure gained through the word of mouth generated by those people pirating the app directly lead to more sales."

And the same thing would have happened had they bought it instead of pirate it.

"How do you not understand that in this case piracy=higher sales."

Incorrect.  Word of mouch generated higher sales.  Piracy generated less.

"In fact if you look at the frequent lists of most pirated games, etc, they are nearly always the highest selling as well."

Gee, the most popular games are the most frequently pirated?  You don't say?

"Don't be so short sighted. This guy isn't so high on his horse that he won't stoop down and pick up the extra cash that piracy directly brought him."

You seem to have missed the last half of the single sentence I wrote in my original post.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Indie Developer: Piracy Helped Sell My Game

Some sales from 'pirates' > no sales from people who never saw the game in the first place

Maybe he should just offer to refund all the money from the people who pirated the game? That will make things 'right'!

Re: Indie Developer: Piracy Helped Sell My Game

Refund what money from the people who pirated the game?  To who?

What would make things right is if the people who pirated the game had paid for it instead.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Indie Developer: Piracy Helped Sell My Game

And if that were this developer's argument, then your comment might actually be relevant.

Re: Indie Developer: Piracy Helped Sell My Game

The relevancy of my comment is not dependent on the developer's argument when I'm referring specifically to something you said and offering up my own opinion on it.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Indie Developer: Piracy Helped Sell My Game

File sharing is nothing more than a extension of popularity in the modern age, like word of mouth and tape sharing was in the 70s.


I have a dream, break the chains of copy right oppression! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/2010/05/21/cigital-disobedience/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: Indie Developer: Piracy Helped Sell My Game

Word of mouth?  No, it's nothing like that.  Tape sharing?  If you mean loaning a friend your cassette, no.  If you mean giving a friend a copy of your cassette, yes.

 

Andrew Eisen

 
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Neo_DrKefkaI wish there was an, "I don't care." for the whole Minecraft poll thing09/19/2014 - 9:27pm
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Technogeek"While you could throw a dart at the internet and find a site where Gamers in General are being harassed, doxxed, hacked, just because they are being perceived as white males." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FopyRHHlt3M09/19/2014 - 8:47pm
Andrew EisenSarkeesian and Quinn continue to get harassed and attacked (with the majority of said harassment and attacks being about their gender) and so, the story stays in the headlines. If Wolfe gets swatted again, it will be in the news again.09/19/2014 - 6:56pm
Andrew EisenYou mean Wesley Wolfe? The swatting appeared to be over his DMCA takedown, not due to his color or gender.09/19/2014 - 6:53pm
ConsterSo Sleaker, what's the sand like?09/19/2014 - 6:53pm
quiknkold@CraigR. Spreading Misandry is not going to kill Misogyny. Its just going to fuel it. half the people supporting that arguement are mysoginists themselves. They just dont know it.09/19/2014 - 6:51pm
Sleaker@CraigR - there's nothing to get over. There's no issue here until someone does an actual study on harassment rates.09/19/2014 - 6:48pm
quiknkoldWe never said Gamers were the only victims. Yes, Anita and Zoe got a bad rap. Yes, Zoe's ex was way out of line. Do I disagree with them? Depends on the arguement. Did they deserve what happened to them? Hell Effing No.09/19/2014 - 6:48pm
Sleakerbut news outlets have a tendency to blow up and sensationalize it if the person can be desrcibed as a minority, maybe because it gets the hits. How long were the 2 recent swattings in the news for? 1 was a white male developer....09/19/2014 - 6:47pm
Craig R.Get over it.09/19/2014 - 6:46pm
Craig R.Gamers are just lucky that their behavior wasn't brought to attention of everybody else sooner, and gamers are pissy about that09/19/2014 - 6:46pm
SleakerIn fact, just because a few female developers every year get harassed doesn't make it systematic. As a whole developers are harassed by people.. Swatted, etc.09/19/2014 - 6:46pm
Craig R.And if you don't think misogyny and sexism is widespread, then you're living with your head buried in the sand09/19/2014 - 6:45pm
Craig R.Apparently it's the gamers who are the only victims from GamerGate09/19/2014 - 6:44pm
Sleaker@AE - 1 person getting harassed is a problem. But just because 1 person gets harassed for being a female developer doesn't mean it's a systematic problem or indicative of a whole demographic.09/19/2014 - 6:44pm
Andrew EisenI don't believe anyone said or even remotely implied that harassing anyone was okay.09/19/2014 - 6:41pm
quiknkoldGeneral are being harassed, doxxed, hacked, just because they are being perceived as white males. And what about the White Males who are victims. Its ok to harass them? Anita Sarkeesian gets a bomb threat yeah, but what about the others.09/19/2014 - 6:36pm
 

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