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Dead Trigger, Piracy, and the Economics of "Freemium"

Authored by: Steven Blum — Jul 24, 2012

This is why Android can't have nice things: the makers of Dead Trigger have decided to offer their game for free on Google Play because they were upset that so many people were pirating it. The developers are going to try to make back some of the cash it took to create the game via in-app purchases, but they've promised fans that these purchases won't interfere with the natural progression of the game. In other words, you won't have to pay a cent to finish the game, but you can use real cash to buy new weaponry.

Despite the piracy, it looks like Dead Trigger was downloaded at least 100,000 times in Google Play since the app was first released on July 20th. Now that the app is available for free, it's unclear whether those who paid will be refunded.

It's a bit depressing to consider the fact that developers often put so much work into apps that are then pirated. But in this case, the developers could actually end up gaining even more cash than they would have, since more people are likely to download a free game, and those same people might make significant in-app purchases.

Dead Trigger is an apocalyptic zombie shoot-'em-up with 3D graphics and an impressive soundtrack. It's clear the developers spent a lot of money on this game, which makes its new "free" status all the more noteworthy.

I wonder how the economics of Google Play will change when such high-profile games are being offered for free. What does that mean for small-time developers who can't afford to just give away their app?

Source: The Guardian

Steven Blum has written more than 2,000 blog posts as a founding member of AndroidPIT's English editorial team. A graduate of the University of Washington, Steven Blum also studied Journalism at George Washington University in Washington D.C. for two years. Since then, his writing has appeared in The Stranger, The Seattle P-I, Blackbook Magazine and Venture Villlage. He loves the HTC One and hopes the company behind it still exists in a few years.

7 comments

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  • DaBartonator
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    Jul 24, 2012 Link to comment

    I think the android ecosystem could be make completely free...google could pay app maker for the snout of downloads as long as the app is free, in turn the carries would be paying from them to use android, the phone maker would then pay for untimely system updates, but is still making money from selling the phone. if it was done in a way like this (and no one got greedy) then not only could all the apps be free, but it would destroy fragmentation, and would keep pressure on google/phone makers to keep on innovating.

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  • Eric McBride Jul 24, 2012 Link to comment

    @Ti Mo - I did indeed brosef :-D Tegra 3 graphics = JOKE

    @Steven - They say that (they ALWAYS say that), and maybe you can get through the game without having to purchase anything. But at what cost? If you play fremium games, you ll see that (majority of the time) in order to avoid hours and hours of pointless grinding or doing mindless missions for small amounts of in game money, your better off just buying the gun/item. I ve had this happen on so many games, and although I haven't finished Dead Trigger yet, I have already read users stating there are times when they pretty much were forced into making a purchase.

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  • Ti Mo Jul 24, 2012 Link to comment

    No.. Didn't Eric write that article about how every device that's rooted has the ability of tegra 3 graphics?!

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  • Steven Blum Jul 24, 2012 Link to comment

    But Eric, Madfinger has promised that you will still be able to get through the entire game without needing to purchase anything.

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  • Steven Blum Jul 24, 2012 Link to comment

    You mean the lack of support for special effects on non-Tegra 3 devices?

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  • Eric McBride Jul 24, 2012 Link to comment

    Actually, the consumer gets screwed the most with fremium games. I would much rather 5 dollars/euros for a game instead of having to buy a gun or piece of inventory every few days to play the game.

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  • Ti Mo Jul 24, 2012 Link to comment

    Didn't they and Nvidia screw us over anyways with their tegra 3 bs? Isn't it just fair that we screw them over then, too?

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