iPhone piracy eats 90% of sales or? is this the end for small developers on the appstore.

Short 2010 recap for ZaxisGames and reflections over iPhone app sales game center highscores versus piracy. Do they really eat 90% of your sales?

Almost a year has passed since we started Zaxis Games.

In that year we manage to release our first game “Angry Viking”, and get support from Norden for our 2nd project “You Got Snail” (title changed since that).

We also completed a half and half financed game “Smack A Seal” in cooperation with

Smack A Seal was released the 11th of january. It's the first game we released with Game Center highscores from day one.

The first days we could follow the chart go from 2 submitted highscores(our own) to 2.486.

So we where pretty satisfied with the release, I think “AV” did about 120 a day the first days of release, so this looked pretty good.

That was until we got the sale numbers. Turns out 90% of the submitted scores where either pirated version or shared accounts.

After searching the web for statistics we found this article.

Well documented statistics of piracy.

I guess we where way to optimistic about sales and our own awesomeness, but it still gives you blow to the stomach.

I don't think we would have sold over 2.000 if it wasn't for the pirates, I have no idea how much of the cake really eat.

Our campaign hasn't really started yet, press releases are on the way out as I write this.

But this leaves me with some questions. Is it over for small developers in the appStore?

We most deficiently new a model.

Is publishers the answer?

Maybe adds and in-app purchase is the way to go.


What do you think?

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