Madfinger: Android piracy forced Dead Trigger to free to play 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.

The explanation was posted to the developer’s Facebook page in response to criticism from disgruntled customers who already paid the initial price. Some users even took to Google Play and gave the game negative reviews because of this issue.

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.

They added that they always intended to make the game available to as many people as possible, which is why the settled on the game’s original $0.99 price tag. The company’s previous game Shadowgun, also of relatively high production value, was priced at $8.00.

Madfinger also assured its fans that Dead Trigger is not and will never be a “freemium” game, and that players are able to play it without in-app purchases. At this time the iOS version of Dead Trigger is still being sold for $0.99, though that version of the game also makes use of in-app purchases.

Recent reports heralded Android’s increasing popularity worldwide, but rarely mention that piracy rates on the platform are still alarmingly high.

In April, developer Sports Interactive told Eurogamer that the piracy rates of its game Football Manager was 5:1 (meaning one copy sold for every five that are pirated), and last year, Korean developer Com2uS told Pocket Gamer that some of its games see piracy rates as high as 98 percent. Additionally, analyst firms Yankee Group and Skyhook found that 27 percent of Android developers see piracy as a huge problem.

Perhaps the most obvious example of just how big of a problem piracy is on Android is that some developers (who would otherwise stand to gain millions) forego developing for the platform altogether. The makers of the popular Infinity Blade game for iOS Chair Entertainment told Mashable in November 2011 that they’re sure Google will fix the issue eventually, but that for now what’s preventing them from bringing the game to Android is not technological limitations, but business ones.