A Tale Of Two iPhone Apps… And An Irrational Fear Of Piracy

from the compare-and-contrast dept

Reader Terry writes in to point out a rather amusing contrast between two separate stories on a site about iPhone apps. First, there’s a story about the massive success of the iPhone game iShoot (which was just profiled in Wired as well). That game, which is basically a copy of the old Scorched Earth (a personal favorite), used a free “lite” version to convince people to buy a more complete $3 version to the tune of over $600,000 in a single month. It is an example of using “free” to sell something else.

But, as Terry points out, it’s rather maddening that the very next post on that same site, repeats without any hint of skepticism, the complaint of another iPhone game developer that thousands of dollars were being lost to “piracy.” Of course, the article seems to have no problem assuming every single unauthorized download is a lost sale, never once questioning whether those folks would have bought the game in the first place. It also fails to mention that the only way to get the unauthorized free version is to have a jailbroken iPhone — which is a very small percentage of iPhones out there. More importantly, though, the first story makes it quite clear that if you build a good game, give people an easy way to try it out for free, they seem more than willing to pay for the app in large quantities. The problem (once again) is not the “piracy.” It’s not a “loss.” The problem is simply the use of a bad business model by the second developer — and, perhaps, making the game not worth purchasing.

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Comments on “A Tale Of Two iPhone Apps… And An Irrational Fear Of Piracy”

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Aaron Downy says:

Hey that's my money bro!

I read both posts and any amount of money ripped off from a developer is too much. Though you make a good point about creating worthy games in the first place.

And that Wired article you linked to… it was written the day after the original on iPhoneSavior. Looks like a little piracy of a different kind goings on by the big media goons. Scorched Earth rulz!

TW Burger (profile) says:

Free is the best advertising

If I can’t download a try it first for free I do not buy it.

However, the argument that the users that downloaded the pirated application would not have done so if they had to pay for it is not completely valid. True, many would not have bothered if they had to pay, but many probably would have.

It’s like saying the guy that stole your car wouldn’t have done it if he had to pay for it so it’s OK.

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