About Game Piracy
Have you watch the latest Pirates of the Caribbean? It looks so cool! Well, maybe not if your games you developed are getting pirated. Piracy is such a common issue in the game industry, yet there’s nothing you can do to prevent it, and here's my experience with SumiKen piracy.
Postmortem - SumiKen Sales Count
It's been 3 weeks since SumiKen : Ink Blade Samurai hits the App Store. Sales are pretty good I suppose, for someone who is just starting out and for their first mobile game. SumiKen has sold more than 300 units worldwide and has 17 five-stars rating within the last 3 weeks on the App Store. Reviews and supports are very warm and positive, thanks for all the people who supported SumiKen! It really meant a lot to me personally.
A Shocking News
A week after SumiKen's release, my friend who is playing it told me he saw more than 700 people on the Game Center's leaderboard. Which seems pretty weird to me as there are only about 200 units sold based on the iTunes Connect analytics at that time. I didn't upload it anywhere else besides the App Store. I turned Unity analytic on and wait for two weeks to gather some data. What I found is shocking.
90% of Downloads are Pirated
Wow, there are 3,410 SumiKen players, awesome! But I only made 300 sales? That's highly suspicious. MAU stands for Monthly Active Users, which tracks how many unique active users are there within a month. From this graph, one can say there are 3000+ players and the iTunes Connect shows only 300+ are paid users. Which means 90% of SumiKen downloads are pirated. Well, that sucks.
A Lost Battle?
Looking at the numbers, I felt disheartened. 3000 users, that could've cleared all my financial worries for a year if they were all paid users! The money would have enabled me to make my next game without extra financial pressure on the back of my mind. But no, there are only 300 sales, which gives me about $300+ after tax, just enough to survive for a month. It's disappointing, yes, but there's nothing I can do about piracy. The only thing I could do is to be positive and feel happy if they could appreciate and enjoy the game, even if it's pirated, and maybe spread the words about the game to their friends.
Passion To Make Games
Thinking back about my inspiration for SumiKen, I just realized that I sacrificed huge amount of sleep time just to develop my hobby game, working until 3am in the morning for 4 months, that's crazy! But in the end, I love it, and I would not stop making games. I just hope that one day I could achieve financial freedom through work and hobby. So that I could, without any financial worries, continue to develop games for people to enjoy and remember.