Gentleman! is an iOS/Android game that is designed specifically for tablets and it only supports local multiplayer. Yet, even with such constraints (most people play their iPhone or Android games on a phone, and usually in the absence of friends), it has managed to sell 1,114 copies on the iPad. Quite impressive for something that’s also a bit on the pricey side, at five bucks.
As for the Android version, only 144 copies have been sold. Yet, according to developers Lucky Frame, there are over 50,000 copies of the game being played on devices that run Google’s operating system. All of them pirated.
An essay by Lucky Frame’s Yann Seznec, which was first published by Gamasutra and later reported on by Kotaku, goes a long way in illustrating how bad rampant piracy has become in Google’s virtual marketplace.
Seznec states that 50,030 copies have been pirated, with 95% of the illegal installs occurring in Russia and China, with the majority taking place in the latter country. If you do the math, and account for the current on sale price of three dollars, that anywhere between $150,090 and $250,150 in loss revenue. Though Seznec tries to put a positive spin on the situation by stating:
“I’m glad our menu design is intuitive enough that you can play the game without speaking English!”
Seznec also points out a problem that most certainly impacted his game’s bottom-line. Just as Gentlemen came out, K-pop superstar Psy released a single entitled that had the same name:
“You wouldn’t think a pop song would cause problems for an app, but we quickly learned about the seedy world of games and apps piggybacking on other entertainment media. What a strange time we live in. Also, how depressing that people spend their time making Jetpack Joyride ripoffs using graphics referencing pop songs. So unfortunately, discovery was and remains a major problem.”
In the end, Seznec comes to the following conclusion, one that will surely depress and irritate anyone who has issues with the smart phone market. In particular, those who abhor in-app purchases:
“We probably could have done more to avoid the massive piracy of our game – or, even better, convert pirate users into paid users. I think that Android apps are definitely going to get pirated no matter what…I can only dimly imagine the level of piracy that a truly successful paid app has. However if we had anticipated this situation we probably would have included some sort of in app purchase, perhaps to unlock extra levels or game modes. At least then the pirates would have the opportunity to pay us a little something if they were enjoying it so much.”