Fishlabs released their first paid iPhone and iPod touch game on October 26th titled Rally Master Pro 3D. That first day of availability can be an exciting time for developers as they are constantly checking to see how well their app is performing sales wise and how well it is being received critically. In Fishlabs’ case, Rally Master Pro 3D performed relatively well sales wise and extremely well critically on its very first day of availability in the App Store, but sadly, another stat crept into view, which probably turned that exciting day into a very disappointing one.
According to a post by Fishlabs CEO Michael Schade on the TouchArcade forums, Rally Master Pro 3D had a piracy rate of 95 percent on its first day of availability in the App Store, and as you would expect, he was not very happy about this particular stat:
We think RMP is a polished game and if you like rally racing it offers great value for €5,99 but we don’t want to argue with our customers. However, it feels kind of strange to be facing a discussion of 50 Euro Cents about international price points on a game that we have spent 5,000 working hours on. In combination with 95% piracy (!) on the first day this makes it very hard to believe in the future of the App Store, sometimes.
Apple recently sent out a memo to all developers outlining their change in policy regarding in-app purchases for free apps, and in that memo they indicated that in-app purchases may help combat piracy. Schade, however, didn’t sound so certain when speaking to Mobile Entertainment.
Apple told us in-app purchase is one key against piracy, but I doubt that. We will see in the future how well in-app purchases fight piracy.
This isn’t the first time someone has complained about high piracy rates. Just in the last couple of weeks we have seen another developer, Smells Like Donkey, complain about their app, Tap-Fu, being pirated by 80 percent of its players, and Pinch Media even recently chimed in with some alarming statistics.
But we must address the inevitable questions of how many of these pirated app users would have actually purchased the app in the first place and how many in turn ended up purchasing the app after giving the pirated version a try? Fishlabs currently doesn’t offer a lite or free version of Rally Master Pro 3D for the iPhone or iPod touch, which means that many gamers can’t just give it a try before purchasing.
Using this logic, do the ends justify the means in this case or is it just another excuse to steal from developers?