Google’s recent announcement of a licensing solution for Android apps can’t come soon enough, as developers witness massive piracy rates on apps built for Google’s fleet of handsets.
Business Insider spoke to David Peroutka of Android game developer Hexage, who reports that his $2.40 retro-inspired shooter Radiant, the sixth best selling Android game in June according to Distimo, has seen piracy rates as high as 97 per cent.
The rates fluctuate based on territory, with Asia and South America holding the 97 per cent lead, Europe with 70 per cent, and North America with a far more respectable 43 per cent.
Peroutka is realistic, admitting that "many people using illegal copies would not buy the apps if they have to pay for them," but the information does suggest sales could be as large as three times more successful if piracy was eradicated.
iPhone also suffers from piracy, and sometimes in just as high numbers. Rolando publisher ngmoco reported up to 90 per cent piracy rates, which led the developer towards free, premium-content supported titles like We Rule.
But with pilfered apps requiring a jailbroken device, the ratio of illegal downloads will never be as high as Android where users “download the APK file to your PC, copy it to your handset, and then install it using a file manager” as described by Peroutka.
Other factors that lead to lost sales include the restrictive global marketplace, where Android only sells apps to 13 countries (compared to the App Store’s 40+ countries). This leaves Google’s phone with a higher free app ratio than any other marketplace, with 57 per cent of apps being free, compared to the 23 per cent of apps going free on iPhone.