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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ZippyDSMleePaypal shuts down Mega's payment system. https://torrentfreak.com/under-u-s-pressure-paypal-nukes-mega-for-encrypting-files-150227/03/01/2015 - 3:25pm
Matthew Wilsonvalvle planning to release a vr headset this year wtf http://www.pcgamer.com/valves-vr-headset-is-named-vive-and-htc-are-making-it/03/01/2015 - 1:05pm
ZippyDSMleeuuuhhhggg in other news been sick since last night.....uuhggg.....I iwsh it did not hurt so much when my tummy wants to leave my body..02/28/2015 - 11:39pm
ZippyDSMleeBrings me to the Q why alt costumes would be needed in competition anyway... http://www.eventhubs.com/news/2015/feb/28/dead-or-alive-community-aims-ban-over-120-overly-sexualized-costumes-dead-or-alive-5-last-round/02/28/2015 - 11:36pm
MonteThough from a business side, i would agree with the article. While it would be smarter for developers to slow down, you can't expect EA, Activision or ubisoft to do something like that. Nintnedo's gotta get the third party back.02/28/2015 - 4:36pm
MonteThough it does also help that nintendo's more colorful style is a lot less reliant on graphics than more realistic games. Wind Waker is over 10 years old and still looks good for its age.02/28/2015 - 4:33pm
MonteWith the Wii, nintnedo had the right idea. Hold back on shiny graphics and focus on the gameplay experience. Unfortunatly everyone else keeps pushing for newer graphics and it matters less and less each generation. I can barely notice the difference02/28/2015 - 4:29pm
MonteON third party developers; i kinda think they should slow down to nintendo's pace. They bemoan the rising costs of AAA gaming, but then constantly push for the best graphics which is makes up a lot of those costs. Be easier to afford if they held back02/28/2015 - 4:27pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2015/02/28/the-world-is-nintendos-if-only-theyd-take-it/ I think this is a interesting op-ed, but yeah it kind of is stating the obvious.02/28/2015 - 2:52pm
prh99The government probably doesn't need an app, but I was think more along the lines of a company that was going to sell the collected info. “If you're not paying for the product, you are the product” sometimes even if you pay.02/28/2015 - 1:50pm
E. Zachary KnightWhat better way for the government to keep track of you than to get you to install an app that lets you insult the government.02/28/2015 - 11:03am
prh99No, but I looked it up and it's basically spyware. Their privacy policy says their apps tracks among other things your location and browsing habits via cookies.02/28/2015 - 8:20am
Ryan RardinHas anyone here heard of an app called iCitizen? It's basically Yelp for politicians.02/28/2015 - 5:16am
Andrew EisenAh, not linked in the way you (and everyone else) want and expect. That's true.02/27/2015 - 10:06pm
Matthew Wilsonthey are not linked in a way that tracks purchases though. the fact that they have to send a code for the other system shows that they are not linked in the way it counts.02/27/2015 - 9:39pm
Andrew EisenAccounts are already linked. Have been for quite a while. Also, Mario vs. Donkey Kong was announced as a cross-buy title during last January's Nintendo Direct.02/27/2015 - 9:25pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.vg247.com/20…/…/27/olli-olli-3ds-wii-u-cross-buy/ I wounder if this is a sign that Nintendo may finally link accounts across the 3ds/wiiu in the near future.02/27/2015 - 9:18pm
prh99http://www.romanoriginals.co.uk/invt/70931?colour=Blue The dress does comes in white and blue but both have black lace and a sheer back top, I don't see gold or brown. 02/27/2015 - 8:54pm
ZippyDSMleeDungeons was a so bad so good game to me so I been keeping up with its sequel which will more of a Dungeon Keeper clone. As for pre order out of 7 preorders I was not burnt by 2... Add my contempt of most of modern game design.Ya I have all kinds of hurt.02/27/2015 - 8:40pm
MechaTama31I don't even want to know...02/27/2015 - 8:22pm
 

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