July 15, 2011
Imagine creating an iOS game and seeing it downloaded illegally by thousands of users. Worst still, Apple, through its Game Center, seems to condone the practice. This is what GAMEized is facing, according to a message on their blog. Based in Melbourne, Australia, GAMized is a game development agency that typically creates products for other companies. However, it recently released its own game into the App Store called FingerKicks, a universal soccer arcade game. First released on July 1, the $.99 app quickly amassed 17,000 players, according to Apple’s own Game Center app. Given that Apple pays developers 70 percent of all sales one would think GAMized would have amassed $11,900 in sales. Instead, it has only collected $800. The reason? According to the company, most of those “sales” were actually illegal downloads. In total, only 1163 legitimate copies of the game have been purchased, or just 9 percent of all downloads. Naturally, the company is upset and made their opinions on the subject known. First, GAMized is upset that Apple has no mechanism to identify legal and illegal downloads, despite “all their rhetoric chastising piracy and intellectual property theft.” Plus, in doing so, the company allows any title with Game Center integration to utilize that service. In other words, even though most of the FingerKicks downloads were illegal (meaning neither Apple nor GAMized made money on them), Apple allowed the illegal copies to be used in Game Center. In conclusion, they state:
Recent events have proven that no company in the world can achieve 100% security against intrusion or piracy, and we’re sympathetic to Apple’s plight. However, it’s reasonable to assume that many if not most of the 16,000 users playing FingerKicks on Apple’s Game Center probably wouldn’t be playing a pirated version if it weren’t so readily available and so openly accepted by Apple.Assuming the details of the GAMized post are accurate, and we have no reason to believe they are not, this phenomena is certainly not just happening with this particular app and company. Therefore, while Apple seems to spend a lot of time and effort in protecting its image and going after jailbreakers, perhaps they should look more thoroughly at the issue of piracy. For example, Apple could figure out a way to certify or confirm that an app loaded on an iPhone or iPad was, in fact, downloaded legally. If it was not, iOS could flag that app and make it inoperable on the iDevice. Until they do, Apple and many app developers are most likely losing out on millions of dollars in revenues. In the meantime, FingerKicks remains in the App Store (legally) for $.99. What do you think? Leave your comments below.