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Friday, July 27, 2012

Chp 412. To pirate or not to pirate: iOS vs Android

When Angry Bird launched on iOS, people paid just under a dollar for the game. But when they launched their Android version, it was completely free because those Rovio guys were smart. They knew that most Android users were just going to download pirated versions of the game on our rooted droids.

So they gave the game to Android for free, WITH advertising on the game screen. I personally didn't bother to download a cracked version that had no advertising as it wasn't a big issue for me, and so didn't most Android users too. The end result? Rovio reaped in almost the same amount of revenue from Android users (via ad clicks) that they made from iOS users who paid for the app. A win-win-win situation for everyone (Rovio got the moolah, Android users didn’t pay any moolah, and iPhone users didn’t give a $hit about 1 dollar).

I know there had been a lot of discussions about how developers prefer iOS over Android because most Android users expect free games or end up pirating or downloading a cracked version of the .apk file blah blah blah, so the developers don't make enough money...  Flurry reported that - “For every dollar of iOS revenue, developers only get 24 cents from Android.” Fair enough. I may be a pirate sometimes (we all are, deep down inside), but working in the creative field, I totally understand how much it sucks not to get credited or paid for an idea I came up with or something I really worked my ass off for.

Peter Farago, VP of Marketing at Flurry even stated the reasons why Android developers don't get paid and how that is killing the platform. And that is true because today, there are still more apps for iOS than Android, definitely better apps, in spite of the fact that Android overtook iOS in Apps Download in UK, Germany and Russia in Feb, 2012, and  soon followed by USA where Android bagged 50% of the US Smartphone market while iOS was reduced to just 30% in April 2012.

Yet, developers still prefer iOS. In fact, according to Flurry Analytics, the first quarter of 2012, 69% of app projects were started on iOS, while Android saw 31% of apps start life on its platform.

But if one really needs to develop a successful Android app, I honestly feel it's important to accept the Android situation instead of avoiding the Platform altogether and do what Rovio did, or what TinyCo did by developing a gaming model that tackled this situation. TinyCo cleverly customized the gameplay of their Android-iOS game “Tiny Village” by targeting players with special offers and incentives at the times they were most statistically likely to drop off. The end result? Android retention and average revenue per paying user was 25 to 40 percent higher than on iOS! [source]

TinyCo’s revenue sheet puts a dent to the popular “myth” that Android users are less likely to pay for in-game features than iOS users. Yes, Android users will definitely pay too if we feel it is really worth it. TinyCo’s monetization method was so effective that Google highlighted TinyCo’s practices in two of their I/O sessions this month and encouraged other developers to follow TinyCo’s lead.

See? TinyCo didn’t complain about how Android users end up pirating their games. They knew about this fact. That is why when I read articles like the one below, I just go, "Seriously? You really didn't see this coming????"
Madfinger: Android piracy forced Dead Trigger to go from paid to free model

Developer Madfinger Games explained today that its game Dead Trigger recently went from $0.99 to free because of the “unbelievably high piracy” it had encountered on Android.

Madfinger explained that they didn’t launch the game as free to play because they don’t have experience with that model, but that the piracy rates were so high even at $0.99 that they finally decided to give Dead Trigger away for free.

We all know Piracy is like the Greek mythology Hydra. You cut off one head, two will grow in its place. Nobody can stop it. Not SOPA, not PIPA, not ACTA, Megaupload will be back and running soon. As Kim dotCom wrote in his famous letter to Hollywood, instead of fighting the system, maybe its high time people realize they have to adjust to the system. I still believe the future of Android games is about how smart the developer becomes and how he can tackle this piracy issue, instead of just avoiding the platform altogether.

Debates and bricks and bats welcome :)


Unknown said...

cant make out head or tails on the subject....but 1 question 'does anti i-phone group (if there ever is) pay you?' :D

Mizohican said...

lolzzzz if you read my post carefully, you will see that not even once did I blast iPhone or praise Android. I was just stating the facts and what needs to be done in the future :P

marvinic said...

M proud of Android user... :D

Mizohican said...

hehehe :)

blackestapp said...

Any Android device is only as powerful and error-free as the hardware it's running on, be it tabs, cellphones or awkwardly bigger cellphones.
I don't mind having Ads on my apps as long as I don't have to pay for it, and I love the fact that one can root an Android device as opposed to iOS, but the fact that Android still need to work on it's security issues makes me skeptical about dumping my jailbroken iPad for an Android device... but soon!

Tetea said...

You missed out one important point: fragmentation in Android. That's the reason why developers almost always first start out in iOS and later move on to Android platform. For iOS, you have one phone - the iPhone and one tablet - iPad. For Android, there's countless phones and tablets that you just can't manage to suit everyone, even though all share the basic Android base. Hardware differences are one of the most important points why developers don't want to work on Android

Mizohican said...

@ blackestapp: Make that soon come sooner! :)

@ tetea: Yup that is very much true. The Android market is highly fragmented with developers having to create different versions or fix bugs that will be compatible with all Android (or majority of Android) phones. I thought I'll write that in my next post, as I wanted to talk about monetization only in this post :) But thanx for bringing it up.

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