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Madfinger Credits “Unbelievably High” Piracy Rates on Android for Price Change to Dead Trigger

Last week, Madfinger Games published an updated version of Dead Trigger to Google Play. Along with the massive update, the publisher also decided to drop the game’s price from a low $0.99 to completely free. Many early buyers were somewhat confused by this decision and took to Madfinger’s social media outlets to see if they intended on either refunding people’s money or would give them all in-app credit. 

Madfinger’s Statement:

Regarding price drop. HERE is our statement. The main reason: piracy rate on Android devices, that was unbelievably high. At first we intend to make this game available for as many people as possible – that’s why it was for as little as buck. – It was much less than 8$ for SHADOWGUN but on the other hand we didn’t dare to provide it for free, since we hadn’t got XP with free-to-play format so far.

However, even for one buck, the piracy rate is soooo giant, that we finally decided to provide DEAD TRIGGER for free. Anyway – DEAD TRIGGER is not FREEMIUM, it always was and still remains FREE-TO-PLAY, that means, all players are able to play it without IAP! We stand up for this statement, because all members of our team are playing (and enjoying) DEAD TRIGGER without IAP.

So, it’s those pesky pirates who are to blame. For those who were hoping to maybe get a refund or some in-game credit are most likely out of luck, but in all honesty, the game is still worth a dollar in my eyes. It’s a fantastic shooter with unbelievable graphics, so hopefully by making it free, more people will be enticed to give it a try (without having to steal it) and will see just how awesome it is.

Play Link

Via: Droid Dog, Facebook

  • Matt Wilber

    This stinks of a marketing stunt

  • James Hill

    Wow really? Why would you pirate a game that costs $1? Now pirating Diablo III ($59.99) I can justify, but not a one dollar title. I bought Dead Trigger, I don’t want my money back, asI want to support the game company so they can make more cool games like this in the future.

  • MonkeyWork

    Why does anybody ever deserve a credit for anything they freely paid for?

  • I had no idea people stole phone games?

  • yep


  • Sp4rxx

    I would agree with the posters about it most likely being an Android ID problem – I blame Madfinger for letting something like that slip their programmers’ eyes. How many times have we all reset, to restore our backed up data and every paid app suddenly go to “free” because of piracy.

    I think they’re just embarrassed they missed it and are blaming someone other than themselves.

  • Higher_Ground

    The game is a lot more enjoyable after the last update but the aim is still glitchy. At least money is easier to find now.

  • ericl5112

    As a developer myself, there’s only so much you can blame piracy. There are a lot of anti-piracy methods (that don’t ruin the experience to legal purchasers) provided by google.

  • E

    I’ve really been losing respect for Madfinger lately with some of their shenanigans. On a side note, do they have some of the least professional PR reps, or what?

  • You people believe anything. Madfinger dropped the buck because it’s makes them more money in the long run. All the other games use the same model by giving the game free first. This piracy statement is just a coverup for its greed. Sheep away sheep’s…

  • Really, people? It’s a dollar. You can’t find a dollar in the couch cushions or something?

    Pirating movies, I understand. Hollywood basically drives us to it, by restricting the availability of content through the channels they want us to use. But this is exactly why app developers are making nothing but freemium games (which suck) and ad-supported games (which are annoying). And that trend is only going to get worse.

    Madfinger took a gamble that if they made the game cheap, you’d buy it. The gamble didn’t pay off and ultimately, we lose. Say goodbye to cheap, ad-free games that don’t nag you to make in-app purchases to be able to do anything at all in the game. Great job, people.

  • Knlegend1

    Not Freemium, yes this game is Freemium. It doesn’t have the depth of Shadow Gun, Mass Effect or other mobile games. Its just something to play to kill a few minutes. Yes minutes. This isn’t to discredit the work effort they put in this game because they did indeed build a quality game that’s on the casual level. And I hate that word….”casual” as it pretains to gaming.

  • Charlie

    This is EXACTLY why Android will never see the sheer amount of quality Apps and Games that iOS gets. Like it or not (I don’t), but it’s true, and piracy sucks.

    • Charlie

      Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Android. I just hate it when friends on iOS get a great App or Game that Android usually never sees or sometimes sees months later. (Instagram, Flipnote, any EA game, etc.) This shouldn’t be the case with Android being the superior platform.

    • Abhijeet Mishra

      Well, most high end games being made by Gameloft or EA or even Madfinger are finding their way to Android, so that’s not entirely true. Android is on so many devices that developers usually do release Android versions of their games. But yeah, in some cases they do go iOS-only.

  • App encryption was enabled on the Play update post I/O and on every device running 2.3+ Are we to believe that a high number of people are running 2.2 AND have a device capable of running this game that are pirating it?

    This is a lie to move to an ad based platform, and the game that I paid for shouldn’t have ads, especially after we spend so much on IAP to just make the game playable.

    The will enable “ad free” eventually for the low price of $4.99

  • ddevito

    Wah. Then stop making an android version altogether and have fun in the Apple orchard

    • Apple has a piracy problem too.

      • ddevito

        Agreed – but the developer stated the price change was from ‘overwhelming’ piracy on Android

    • Abhijeet Mishra

      Don’t give the devs ideas like that! Else I’ll have to unwillingly spend $800 to get an iPhone to enjoy the apps and games, which I can’t afford since we have no contracts here in India. Plus the horrible limitations of iOS will come along too at $800 😛

      • Champion1229

        IPod touch is only $199!

        • Abhijeet Mishra

          For you it is, not for us. Here in India there is no such thing as contracts, you must give buy it outright, and Apple’s devices are the most overpriced here. And like I said, not willing to pay so much just to have Apple tell me what I can and cannot do on my phone. Too many limitations for me, but that’s just me 😛

          • Champion1229

            An iPod touch isn’t a cell phone type of device,its a wifi only device that doesn’t require a contract and here in the US they’re only $199 with NO contract or anything.

          • @google-3155a0d6fa3d299bbb1dcec90ab54f70:disqus You don’t have to pay $70-$100/month for phone bills either. I thought the two North American phone companies – Apple and Blackberry make you buy through a specific carrier (last I was there, iPhone was an AirTel exclusive).

  • TheWenger

    I just bought this last week, so that kinda sucks. But it’s good to support the developer.

  • Mordecaidrake

    This makes me sad, pay for your apps people!

  • EvanTheGamer

    Lots of cheapskates out there. It’s a freaking dollar, are you THAT cheap that you can’t afford one single buck for a great experience that is Dead Trigger? You guys make me laugh.

  • hkklife

    I paid for Dungeon Defenders on its release day (maybe $5.99 or so?) and then it went free-to-play. Then I dropped 99 cents on every single EA title that was compatible with my Droid X around their big Christmas 2010 sale and they pulled some shenanigans and locked those versions of the apps out of future updates and even refused to let me redownload some of them and EA support was worthless. Same thing happened with a number of Gameloft games (Nova, Nova 2, MW2) that I have bought ever since they hit the Google Market and were never updated and are not compatible with any of my current devices.

    My point is that I have lost quite a lot of money on various games over the years due to shady/lazy practices from various developers. Some of these are just developers being crooked and some can be attributed to piracy. But I am officially adding Madfinger to my developer black list since they won’t even chip in a few in-app credits to those loyal people who bought Samurai 2, Shadowgun and Dead Trigger and have now been shafted. What a shame.

    So now it’s a lose-lose situation for everyone. I’m pissed at some developers but I’m also pissed at the pirates. BUT I have had to resort to cracked APKs on more than a few occasions to get a game that I purchased operating on a certain device that was not “supported” but worked fine otherwise! I think it’s time for Google to REALLY step up to the plate and put a lock down on piracy. But I don’t want to get into a retarded system of having a handful of activations/installations. Those of us with multiple devices and who flash ROMs all of the time will get royally screwed.


    P.S. Also, why is it that Rovio is STILL only selling the ad-free versions of the older Angry Birds (other than Space) on Amazon?

    • Abhijeet Mishra

      In case of Gameloft, truly said. With some of their games not working on Jelly Bean, I don’t have any hope of them updating them to work, which makes the purchase of Nova 3 useless for me right now. Also, after buying Dead Trigger, I had to resort to pirating the Tegra 3 version because it has effects shadily disabled in non-Tegra devices. Practices like these also contribute to piracy + some people unable to buy apps due to limitations like debits cards that don’t work with the Play Store or not even having a debit card of their own (in case of kids and teenagers)..

  • SWH

    I believe it. I have a donate version of my theme in the play store, and every day someone purchases, and then returns it after they pull the apk using root explorer. Totaly sad because I include a link to the free version in my description.

    • Carleft

      Dude, what’s your theme?

  • Droidzilla

    Thanks, Jack Sparrow!

    • That’s Captain Jack Sparrow…

      • Droidzilla

        Davy Jones, giant squid!

  • I call BS on this. I don’t see how the game being pirated is an excuse to make the title free. Most of the Android community, as far as I know, don’t ever pirate APKs. It just doesn’t make sense to me that they would throw away potential profit from Android users that are willing to pay, over high piracy rates. Their statement just smells funny

    • Abhijeet Mishra

      True. Better earn a few bucks than lose it all just because too many people pirate it. Piracy will always endure, doesn’t mean making the app free is a great idea. Something is really fishy. Maybe a ploy to mar Android’s name saying there is too much piracy, while iOS fanboys will jump at a chance to criticize 😛

    • JB

      I agree, pirating a game is more effort than $0.99 is worth (especially when you count having to re-pirate for updates and bugfixes).

  • Matt Zwirn

    Really people you couldnt pay the freaking $1, either buy it or not just dont pirate the damn game

  • jjrudey

    Yeah, I don’t believe their claim at all.

  • Duvel

    Isn’t Jelly Bean supposed to fix this with app encryption?

    • Abhijeet Mishra

      Jelly Bean isn’t on many devices yet and most developers are yet to use Jelly Bean features, such as the encryption thing or the advanced notifications. But again, no DRM is unbreakable, though it might increase the time before a game gets cracked, which is good enough for sales at least the first few days.

  • Dat Nguyen

    That’s pretty bad. Does iOS have the same issue with ease of piracy? Or is it just that the Apple users are less likely to pirate apps? The culture could be a major factor in this platform battle.

    • Abhijeet Mishra

      iOS needs to be jailbroken in order to use pirated apps as far as I know, so it’s quite less in occurrence. Plus, iOS users are not generally opposed to paying for apps, unlike Android where people just expect stuff to be free. But then again, not sure if those are the reasons, haha.

      • TheWhiteLotus

        Android users don’t expect things to be free any more than iOS users. We aren’t cheap.

  • duh

    you don’t want piracy? give users a license when they buy it. case closed.

    • jrummy16

      license verification is almost always cracked

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

    Such a damn shame…

  • Liquidretro

    I bought the game just yesterday, it made me a little angry that it went to a free game now. However this is really a great game and totally worth $1. I just don’t love the idea of in app purchase. Now, they say piracy is so great, but where are the numbers? Is 20% piracy “great”? Or is it 90%? I really think they should backup their claims with hard numbers.

    • JDHokie

      Where did you buy it yesterday? It’s been free since Friday.

  • Perhaps no one wanted to play their game?

  • I was able to get a refund because I purchased it and never installed it prior to the change. I did not get the refund because the $1 was not a big deal when it means supporting a great developer

  • Wow are people. Really. That cheap? It was only a damn dollar

    • Yeah, but ~50,000 people bought it at a dollar.

      • bob martin

        I don’t understand what you are trying to say. It doesnt matter how many people bought it. the app still cost $1.

      • EvanTheGamer

        I bought it for a dollar. It’s a single dollar..not breaking the bank or anything…

    • Abhijeet Mishra

      Most are cheap, but in some cases it’s also some people who are unable to buy apps from the Play Store, maybe because their debit/cc card doesn’t work, or maybe because their parents buy them a phone then don’t allow buying them apps (which is the case with one of my friends who doesn’t have his own debit card, haha). I had to pirate apps and games the first few months after buying an Android as well because none of my debit cards worked on the Play Store until I got one from a bank that did, which I’m still using. That is one thing that seriously needs to be improved, supporting more and more banks in countries specially like India.
      But yeah, most just pirate because they can and don’t want to pay.

      • Champion1229

        I totally agree, I got my Android last year (HTC Rezound) but my parents REFUSE to have their debit card or credit card tied to Google and my phone and an app called tTorrent is free and has a built in search engine. Works like a charm!

    • EvanTheGamer

      100% agreed! People are just so damn cheap…can’t afford a single dollar but CAN afford a $60 monthly bill. Wow.

    • Desirable app to lame app ratio is high so $1 can quickly turn to $10 per good app, and more. I have returned many apps before fully evaluating them because of the short 15min return window when they may of actually been good apps. I don’t install unlicensed apps, but I can understand why other people may do so to cut down on the overall cost of apps. And perhaps the game is crap and people decide its not worth it. If a good game is being installed without a license and being regularly used, that is sad news for Android.

    • Support the Devs!

      Also people quit whining about how you paid a dollar and it is now free.

  • I wonder if they’re seeing Titanium Backup restores as a pirated copy. This smells of a way to cover up bad sales.

    • moelsen8

      yeah i don’t completely buy it.. maybe i just don’t get it. the game’s being pirated and we’re losing that potential upfront money, so we’re going to make it free. what the hell?

      • Jake

        Can pirated apps use in-app purchasing? If not, then every pirated copy means potential lost revenue for Madfinger. Pirated copies also hinder their ability to account for every download they have. They also would like to account for every download they have, as a higher number means they could charge future advertisers more money. It could also help them in future negotiations, like if they get an offer to license properties or buy them out, they could demand more money if they can reliably report higher downloads.

    • cancerous_it

      Either way, it shows poorly on the Android market. Both piracy and poor sales will discourage other developers from developing games for Android.

      • MikeCiggy

        It is not really Android’s fault. Because it is an open operating system people can easily find the .apk and upload them to the web for people to download for free. One of the cons of being a developer for an open source OS.

        • Andrew

          This actually why a lot of my developer friends shy away from Android. They don’t see a lot of revenue from apps when compared to sales with the iOS. I understand the risks of having an opened sourced OS, but I really do wish people would pay the dollar or two to support developers trying to make a great program….oh well.

          • Abhijeet Mishra

            One of the first things Android app devs should adopt is releasing both ad-supported and paid non-ad versions of the same app. Kinda like Windows Phone where there’s a demo as well as a full version. At least that way the few people who want to support the developer can buy the paid/donate version. But there are many devs who just release ad-supported or completely ad-free free apps, which is nice, but a donate version for every app wouldn’t go amiss (though it will probably increase the amount of apps on the Play Store by a lot, haha. Though Google could make it so both paid and free versions show up on a single page).

          • JB

            Piracy on iOS is ridiculously easy. There is literally “an app for that” that serves as a market for pirated apps. For android, you have to find an apk (that will work on your screen/apu) and then locate all the sd files (invariably split into different files) and then put it all together on the device. And then have no support, no updates and no promise that it will work.

      • Cowboydroid

        It is easy to implement a license check when an application is opened. If a developer is whining about piracy, they aren’t doing their own job. They’re being lazy and expecting everyone else to do their work.

        Do you’re own work to make your app secure!

        • This is so true. I can’t believe good app developers would make a change like this and complain about piracy without using tools designed to prevent said act.

        • Also piracy is just as bad and near as easy on iOS so why is it still paid there?

          • JB

            Piracy on iOS is ridiculously easy. There is literally “an app for that” that serves as a market for pirated apps. For android, you have to find an apk (that will work on your screen/apu) and then locate all the sd files (invariably split into different files) and then put it all together on the device. And then have no support, no updates and no promise that it will work.

        • baldypal

          Did you see the new law suit against minecraft and gameloft for violating a patent for in app license check? That’s a little discouraging too.

          • Cowboydroid

            It will likely be invalidated, if the defendants have any balls.

    • Liquidretro

      Play store lists it as having 10-50k downloads so its no 10,000,000 install app, but I agree, without numbers here it’s hard to feel like this is such a major problem.

      • Let me fix that for you. It’s shown as having 100K-500K. Not bad for only being on the market for 20 days.

        • Flying_Hellfish

          Yeah, but look at the graph. Most of those seem to be since it went free.

          • Hard to tell since they don’t put dates or anything 🙁

          • Appbrain shows the app hitting the 50k-250k bracket around the 14th with the price drop happening on the 20th. Of course, their dates are not always correct.

        • New_Guy

          They actually had about 5000 before the price drop.

        • I don’t really feel like there is a piracy problem. Piracy typically is born from product that is overpriced, or exclusive, or some other bizarre idiocy. This product was neither. I agree with the poster above that states that they were probably erroneously looking at Tibu (more my fav, ultimate backup) app installs. I bought mine fair and square for a buck, but I’ve reinstalled it several times because of wiping data from switching ROM’s.

          • Alan Paone

            Explain why the Indie Bundle always gets pirated so much, it goes down to a penny. Things get pirated because the vast majority of people are jerkwads.

          • In America, things get pirated because the content makers are jerkwads and make them exclusive (see: Avatar 3D blu ray), overpriced, or both. I will buy a 15 dollar blu ray all day. But a 3D blu ray for 34-40 bucks? Are you freakin kidding somebody? These studios need to get over themselves and realize that (in America) they are the ones causing most of the piracy.

          • Champion1229

            Personally, I tried to download the cracked version of the app but every time I downloaded it and opened it, the welcome screen would show but it wouldn’t download the additional data. It also didn’t work when I found the additional data on a website and put it in the folder for the app (followed the directions and put it somewhere in the android folder). I think this dev did more than what they’re telling because I attempted this on multiple devices with multiple different versions.

          • brando56894

            The one reason I ever pirated an Android app was because it was a huge download and I didn’t have time to fully check it out before the 15 minute refund Window expired. I think they should change it to an hour or two and that would lessen piracy.

      • r0lct

        They found out people aren’t willing to pay upfront and then for IAP (regardless if they are told they aren’t required) and had to switch it to free to fix it. Then to try and not piss off the people who already paid claim it was rampant piracy.

        Personally I paid the $.99 and did an IAP just to try it out (thanks for the N7 credit) but after this BS I think I’ll move on to another game unless they can provide numbers to back it up.

    • rockstar323

      You could be right. If you restore a backup and don’t restore the previous Android ID they could think it’s a different device. Also with the amount of JB roms that have been coming out I’d say many people are backing up and restoring apps like crazy.

      • Cowboydroid

        Which begs the question, just how many buyers of this game would actually be switching ROMs that often?

        • rockstar323

          No telling I just know in the past week I’ve factory reset my device at least 5 times trying out different ROMs. If it reads by Android ID then I would have showed up as 5 separate users had I not restored the previous ID with Titanium.

        • ME!~ 5 times in the last week.

        • Frank F

          The real question here is when are they going to fix the N7 issues …I paid my dollar now I just need my moneys worth fixed…and also fix the aiming issue / glitch ! So f@#$ing annoying

    • jeff3yan

      I don’t really see why they would want to lie about this. It’s their app, if they discover it’s being pirated and decide to give it away for free then that’s their decision based on their own reasoning. They don’t have anything to prove.

    • TheOiulkj

      Agreed, this is total BS. It is 100x easier to hex edit yourself some extra gold coins than it is to search the less comfortable side of the internet for a shady apk file and most people will be willing to spend a measly dollar over both of these options. In fact I would have if they kept it as it was, but I will NEVER put money into IAPs. NEVER. I think it’s stupid.

      Downloadable content like maps, extra missions, or like that which can be considered a “sequel” or “addon” are less insulting, but when you have to buy weapons, ammo and perks, that’s an instant 1 star rating from me, because it’s basically an incomplete or handicapped game. Even if you can beat the game without buying those things. It’s simply insulting.

      • brando56894

        I beg to differ, I played Sentinel 3 a ton of times and got through all of the levels. Each time I flashed a new ROM I would forget to back up my progress beforehand, and not to mention the unlocked levels wouldn’t be the same across devices, so I paid the $2 to have all levels unlocked forever. I also did the same thing with the “all weapons” perk. IAPs are useful at times, other times they’re just a way for the dev to get more money for an incomplete game.

    • Champion1229

      I would say this is a cover up because I personally attempted to pirate this app and every time it said server refused connection, failure to download extra data and then quit. It didn’t even work when i found the extra data on a share site and put it in the correct folder, the app never recognized the file. So its my guess that theres some type of license number, etc related to the app and the downloaded data. Just my 2 cents.

  • Jeff Tycz

    This is why we cant have nice things!!

    • Willard Potter

      Seriously.. cause that’s how you get ants..

      • justincase_2008

        Danger Zone