‘Our most successful game is also our least profitable’

A few days after release, we started noticing some pretty strange statistics on the Android version. At the last minute we had included an analytics package into the game that told us how many unique users there were playing around the world. After two days we had sold a total of 8 copies on Google Play, but we were getting significantly more players. The numbers surprised us so much that we actually contacted the analytics company to confirm that we were interpreting them correctly. Once we had done that I posted on the Lucky Frame twitter feed, asking people to guess how many pirated copies were being played. Nobody got anywhere near:

Ok! I think I’ll call time on this. Official Android sales numbers for Gentlemen! after three days: 8 copies sold. 2,462 copies pirated.

— Lucky Frame (@lucky_frame) July 19, 2013

If you’re interested, after three weeks those numbers are now 144 copies sold, 50,030 copies pirated. So, as you can tell the piracy rate has not really slowed down at all – if anything it has gotten even stronger!

Yann Seznec says it’s not a big deal because they used Unity to build the game, so it was trivial to make an Android build. Imagine how differently Yann would feel if they did any serious engineering on it.

  • tejajuloori

    they try to make a good game for android, people pirate,devs don’t bother much about developing the next app/game on android.

  • studuncan

    That’s a weird definition of successful.

    • Tim

      They mean successful on other platforms.

      • studuncan

        No, it’s their most popular game ever – more than 50,000 users. But their least profitable. And somehow they call that successful.

        • smoofles

          Well, it is successfull in Android terms (all the marketshare, none the profit), isn’t it? 🙂

  • Coding for “exposure”.

  • GTWilson

    I don’t think there exists a pair of rose colored glasses that would lead me to see a 95%+ piracy rate as “not a big deal”.

  • This isn’t android only. Pirating is an issue regardless.

    “We’re seeing similar stats with our latest paid game Riptide GP2: 98% piracy on Android, 75% piracy on iOS. Piracy is mostly in Asia. But remember that these are not lost sales, it’s just the nature of the business. If piracy didn’t exist, just about none of these people would actually buy the game.” – Ralf Knoesel

    [from the comments on that post]

    • Sebastian Paul

      But you do realize that 98% piracy on Android vs 75% piracy on iOS ist not simply a difference of a bit more than 20% but a whole different league, yes?

      75% means you sell one copy and 3 copies get pirated while 98% means you sell 1 copy and 49 copies get pirated.

      • Yeah, not saying they are equal at all. It was merely a comment I ran across that spoke directly to my primary statement.

        Point: to assume iOS is immune is a complete fallacy.

        • Sebastian Paul

          Even the Nintendo 64 had piracy but: every pirate needed additional hardware that cost a lot of money, while the Playstation could be manipulated to run pirated games for probably 50$.

          As you can imagine, the ratio of pirated to legit copies on both consoles differed vastly.

          This most likely even helped the Playstation sell more consoles, coz a large number of people realized that they could save quite a bit of money, if they bought a console that enabled them to get all games nearly for free. (Disclaimer: I owned/own a Nintendo 64 and never bought a Playstation 1, I just didn’t want to become a member of such a community of pirates). With a 49:1 ratio, i would simply stop developing for Android. Yeah, i would give up the chance to sell to one in fifty people playing my game, but fu** it! I’d feel too insulted by those statistics.

    • Sylvain

      I really doubt those numbers. IOS have only one store, and a DRM policy its much more harder to install pirated apps on IOS than on Android.

      Beside that Apple is much more serious about piracy than google is

        • Sylvain

          Once again, you have to put things into perspective. You just show us one article about one game over the zillions games the IOS store offer. Sadly you seem to be, for I don’t know wich reason, an android fanatics who just want to sell at any price that platform. I still beleive after trying the Galaxy 3 & 4 and compare them to the iPhone 5 and the Window Phones Samsung AtivS that android is a very sorry excuse OS.

          • You attempted to invalidate an actual statement from a successful developer because you didn’t believe it. So…I provided another answer for you. Don’t like that one, here ya go:

            http://thenextweb.com/apple/2013/01/01/low-down-dirty-iphone-app-pirates/ http://www.scmagazine.com.au/News/316996,special-report-ios-app-piracy-soars.aspx http://www.techinasia.com/list-5-ios-iphone-ipad-jailbreaking-piracy-tools-china-2013/ http://www.slashgear.com/new-services-lets-users-install-pirated-ios-apps-without-jailbreaking-02262784/

            And yes…I’m an android fan but, since you seem new, I use almost nothing but Apple products except my phone [to which I dropped iPhone years back]. My OS preference has nothing to do with my opinion on this matter.

          • Sylvain

            Oh man, seriously, don’t post the whole web in order to prove you point. I can post you thousand more of those link with article about Android being the worst platform in the world, that means nothing. My own personal opinion come from trying a couple android phones, and they all suck. Even if you post me more and more link it wont change my mind about how bad and unprofessional this product is.

          • I didn’t need all of them but you had an issue with one link so I provided a few.

            The links weren’t about Android. You denied iOS stats from an actual high profile developer as being legit so I provided you others.

            Piracy is a problem on all platforms.

          • Sylvain

            If you point is that piracy is on all platform, I can’t seriously disagree with you on that. My main point was that Google on they Android platform does not seem to take the problem as seriously as Microsoft and Apple does.

          • Good.

            I doubt they don’t care as much. Their approach is just different. To allow a more open platform for developers, they can’t wall the garden. As an Android dev, I love how easy it is to deploy (99% easier than iOS) but, in the same vein, being open in that manner leaves gaps for the unsavory.

            To combat, Google provided app verification: https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/2812853?hl=en. It doesn’t prevent piracy but does help with viruses [a whole other topic].

            For piracy, they’ve provided app licensing: http://developer.android.com/google/play/licensing/index.html. Many devs, unfortunately, don’t use it though.

            Edit: Point, they care and are providing tools for us to use.

          • Sylvain

            I love how easy it is to deploy (99% easier than iOS) but

            Totally agree with you on that. I had to develop a few week ago an android apps for our current customer. Being a .Net developer I used Xamarin product in order the development easier ( I could wrote the app in C# and have access to some .Net libs). I was highly surprised by how easy is to deploy and app to an android phone,just need a usb cord and the right windows driver, provided for free byGoogle. ( neither IOS, and W8 phone, provide such developer friendly experience) Another thing I did really like is the ability to use a ROM in order to change the OS. I have to be honest, I critic a lot android, but it have it own strength too.

          • Nice on Xamarin. I’ve been wanting to play w/ it but never have. My C# is rusty anyway. 🙂

          • Sylvain

            Hehe don’t worry about it, we all have our favorite language.

          • Sylvain

            Btw I forget, thx for those two last link, was really useful information.

          • No prob.

  • Sylvain

    Not only piracy is a big problem on the android platform, but the lack of quality from the apps is laughable. That platform is popular only because the guys at the phones stores just know about that particular platform, so eventually they propose it as the best phone, they don’t know better. Furthermore,Android is far from being as polished as IOS and Windows phones. Its a unprofessional product, and nobody make any money out of it except Google.

      • Sylvain

        Well yes, you being really naïve if you believe everything you read on internet is to be true. The fact is Google stole the Java platform to make their android SDK, then without any respect for intellectual properties, just released their OS. Eventually many hardware companies entered the android bandwagon, only to find themselves under numerous law suite again intellectual properties violations. Finally, only Samsung did some money with android, everyone else where cheated. When I talk about an unprofessional product I means it.

        • You’re one of those. All good.

          With your ‘naive’ point of view, every single statement you made after that is under the same scrutiny since you only read those bits on the Internet.

          Just saying.

          • Sylvain

            This is only you own personal opinon sir.

          • No, sir. It is your opinion. You nullified anything read online then spouted nothing but online rhetoric.

          • Sylvain

            Its getting infantile now. you have you opinion on it, you like Android its fine. My own personal opinion is that I really don’t like it. Its one of the worst OS in the world. Android is a resource hog, no wonder they have to put twice more CPU power in those android phone in order to match the efficiency of a IO or Windows phone. Android is cesspool of malware. Android user interface is clunky and very badly designed. Finally the Android SDK is one of the worst thing I ever saw in my life.

          • LMBO @ the SDK and badly designed. 😀

            Opinions…everyone has one. You’re entitled.

            Have a good one.