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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  1. identicon
    inc, 18 Feb 2009 @ 7:50pm

    it's sick how no one wants to compete anymore. they just want to whine and cry and expect someone to hand over money. you gotta work for that shit like everyone else.

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