A big piracy problem

Our early sales for Sugar Rush were very low, despite a big PR push.  We had a problem on the first day when the screen shots disappeared for a few hours after I tried to update the description & screen shots. Second day sales were even worse.

However, I noticed something very interesting: the number of users in Game Center and the number of users reported by Flurry Analytics were at least 3 times the total number of sales reported in iTunes Connect. At first I thought the iTunes reports were delayed, but a google search revealed that there are lots of pirated copies available. If the numbers are accurate, this means there are at least 3 or 4 times as many pirated downloads as we had legal sales.

I’m amazed and disappointed that an app can be that widely pirated after only two days of sales, especially when the legal sales were lackluster.

As a result I’m very unlikely to develop any future iOS apps, since it looks like I can’t make a living on app sales.

UPDATE: according to a source, the illegal copy got 2000 downloads, which is a lot more than 4x the number of legal downloads.

2 responses to “A big piracy problem

  1. You often hear stories of developers unable to gain traction in the marketplace, but rarely about developers that are screwed by piracy. I wonder how many of those illegal downloads were from sources defending open standards. It's a Catch 22 with no winners.

  2. You should try adding a notification on pirated copies that guilts the user into buying the real version – I think many normal people don't understand that a lot of software is develeped by small companies or individuals who don't have big pockets and need every $.99 sale to make a living.

    Thankfully our latest Mac app hasnt been pirated yet, but all our others have and we expect that sooner of later ImageXY will be too.

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