Unless you were born yesterday or crawled out of the rock you've been living under for years, you'd know that software devs are at wit's end trying to come up with a solution to them piratin' scallywags. In the case of this first time iPhone game developer, he didn't waste his time trying to come up with an iron-clad barrier to protect his stuff that hackers will always find a way to break, he takes a more subtle approach, and his take on piracy makes a rather insightful read.
This unnamed developer created iCombat, a game that's a lot like Atari's Combat and the Wii Tanks game. Priced at only US 0.99, the game was cracked, hacked, and spread within 30 minutes of going live in the App Store. For every player who paid for the game, there are five out there who pirated it.
Being a first-time dev without the resources of Sony or Square Enix to crack down on the pirates, the iCombat dev didn't bother trying to police the culprits, but even found a way to turn the piracy to his advantage. He came up with a way to redirect players to a hidden page that he created on his site called, "You Jacked My App" where a message reads:
Hi if you have been directed to this page it s because we see that you have a pirated copy. While we are glad you are interested please understand that we want to continue making it better, but to do that we need people to each pay for their copy. If you want to continue using please purchase today.
Pirates would be redirected to the site after completing the first five levels. Sure, he's cool if they play some of it for free, but they gotta cough up if they want to play the rest of it. From a certain perspective, he doesn't really lose revenues to piracy - those who pirated his app weren't willing to pay anyway so he didn't really lose out on the sales.
So what happened here is that he basically created a free, pirate-able five-level Lite version for his app, similar to what we've seen from Metal Gear Solid Touch and Hysteria Project last week. So instead of trying to rid himself of pirates, he found a small way to try and use the piracy to sell the game.
Read up on his take on piracy and his story through the source link below. I think you'll enjoy reading it.
These guys are less-tolerant about it:
- Dille: Sony "confident" in PS3 plans, PSP piracy is "sickening"
- Square Enix on the crackdown against FF&ACC piracy