Skyrocketing piracy rates cause Madfinger Games to relaunch 'Dead Trigger' as a free app

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Madfinger Games has relaunched its new Android title Dead Trigger as a free download, transitioning away from premium pricing as a result of rampant piracy plaguing the Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Play storefront.

Madfinger rolled out first-person shooter Dead Trigger earlier this month, pricing the game at 99 cents. The firm explained the switch to the free install model in a Facebook post, writing "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 a buck… However, even for one buck, the piracy rate is soooo giant, that we finally decided to provide Dead Trigger for free."

Madfinger adds that Dead Trigger remains free to play, and is not adopting a freemium monetization model. "That means all players are able to play it without [in-app purchases]! We stand up for this statement, because all members of our team are playing (and enjoying) Dead Trigger without IAP." As of this writing, Dead Trigger for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS remains available at its original 99-cent price point.

Android device owners who paid 99 cents to install Dead Trigger vented their frustrations via one-star Google Play user reviews. "Well, after paying for the game they changed the price to free (given their IAPs, it should have been from the start). That adds insult to injury. If they are going to switch models this close after launch, early adopters should get some form of restitution," reads one review, with another adding "I Pay For This, And Some Time Later, They Just Give This Game Away For Free, Which It Should Have Been In The First Place!!! Last MadFinger Game I'll Ever Purchase!!!"

Piracy problems have haunted Google Play (formerly Android Market) since its inception. In a 2011 survey conducted by Yankee Group and location services firm Skyhook, 27 percent of Android developers stated piracy is a huge problem, and another 26 percent view it as something of a problem: About a third of respondents said app piracy has cost them more than $10,000 in revenue, 32 percent indicated it increases their support costs and another quarter blamed heavy loads imposed by pirated copies for increasing their server costs. The fault lies with Google, developers say: 53 percent of respondents believe the company is far too lax in its efforts to police Google Play.

Google unveiled Android 4.1 (a.k.a. Jelly Bean) last month. The operating system update promises new encryption capabilities designed to reduce piracy risks alongside a host of additional improvements and new features.

For more:
- Read this Guardian article

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Is Google too lax on Android Market app piracy?
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Android Market: 37% of published apps are later removed

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