Tap-Fu Developer On Lack Of App Piracy Safeguards

iPhone developer Smells Like Donkey criticized Apple’s security measures for protecting App Store content in a recent post on their blog. They talk about how their latest game, Tap-Fu [App Store, $1.99], has suffered from rampant app piracy, resulting in miniscule sales and a wide user base.

Smells Like Donkey says that they are, “very surprised (and concerned) at how easy it is” to pirate iPhone games. Having researched the process, it was found to be “MUCH easier than actually buying it on iTunes.”

They also conclude that the excuse of pirating a game to “try before you buy” seems to be untrue. They cite the justification used by Appulous, an app pirating website:

Appulous is a collection of links to allow iPhone and iPod touch users the ability to try out full, unlimited versions of device software before making the decision to buy it.

However, despite positive feedback from users, not a single pirate purchased the game on iTunes, proving that it’s all talk, at least for the majority of users. They explain a few steps they are considering to prevent piracy in the future:

Probably the first thing we’ll try is popping up a message reminding people that they really should buy the game if they like it and conveniently provide links to do so. It’ll be an interesting test to do so we’ll let you know when it’s done.

Also, the move to DLC seems to be another step in the right direction to combat this. Give away the base app for free and charge for content. This forces the pirates to change their strategy significantly and it might be a while before it becomes feasible to attack this system.

Another option for multiplayer apps is to verify the app online and not allow it to connect to a match making server or something of the sort. Fair is fair and if someone isn’t paying for your app, they maybe shouldn’t be allowed to use your service.

[via Pocket Gamer]

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