A fascinating article, and raw data, was released a few days ago by publisher Tiny Build in relation to a small, but top-tier indie game released this year called Punch Club.  (You can find out more information and purchase the game here via steam: http://store.steampowered.com/app/394310/)  There have been countless articles relating to digital piracy over the years, but as far as I can recall they’ve all been skewed into a discussion between the good people of the world that do pay vs the evil doers who have not.

RARELY do publishers give out these numbers as they want public sentiment to side with themselves in that every pirated copy is essentially a sale that has been thefted.

Keep in mind this is specifically related to software development for the public, but judging by these numbers, I can see massive similarities in almost any space between news paywalls, to music, to mobile apps.  It was discovered that there were large direct correlations between so called piracy and the localized income of the average person, device, and product language.  For data enthusiasts and development directors like myself, this was a gold mine of information usable in almost any situation where you will be releasing something into the public space.

Questions like:

  1. Without free users, is it possible for any software to penetrate such a massive viral scale from Microsoft Office and business tools to indie games? (lets be honest, we all know someone who has a copy of office that was not directly purchased)
  2. If my app is useful on multiple devices will/should I make the user pay for each device?
  3. Are there little things that can be included in a software project release that may boost its paid conversation ratio?
  4. Should those things be a higher priority than resources spent trying to stop freeware use of an application?

Check out the full article here: http://tinybuild.com/punch-club-has-been-pirated-over-1-million-times

I’d also suggest sifting through the comments below relating to the unique issue of global economy scaling.  For some, an app is easily worth a single nice dinner out at your local restaurant, but for a massive chunk of the world $30 is literally an unfeasible request.  Should you potentially trade what seems to be 5X the user-base in exchange for a more fair philosophy to those that have purchased your app?

All good questions without specific answers, but I do feel we are getting closer with more articles, and data, such as this.


Jon Liebertz

“Over 15 years’ experience directing, managing, and assisting businesses with innovative technology solutions.”

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