Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Piracy is good for games

I've been reading some posts about iPhone app piracy. I think a lot of developers are missing an opportunity here. Pirates represent an awesome form of price discrimination. You can sell your app for $0.99 or fifty dollars or whatever, and then get an instant userbase from people who weren't going to pay for it anyways.

Say you write a multiplayer game. Within an hour of launch you will have:
  1. Instant playerbase, even if only one person has legitimately purchased your app, especially important for multiplayer "versus" apps
  2. Filled out highscore tables (so it doesn't look like a ghost town to those first purchasers)
  3. Hundreds (or more) of users to create content for you, by saving replays, creating levels, customizing characters, or whatever
  4. People for your legitimate buyers to chat with (even though every other word will be "fag")
  5. And cheap, viral PR to generate buzz about your game

I wish more people would write about how to take advantage of these benefits instead of just lamenting the losses.

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