Independent developer Smells Like Donkey has revealed
piracy rates for its recently released iPhone brawler Tap-Fu
. In its first week of release, more than 90% of Tap-Fu
users were playing a pirated version of the game.
Smells Like Donkey and publishing partner Neptune Interactive note that since Tap-Fu
's release on October 16th, the title rose from a 50% initial piracy rate to a peak of more than 90%. As of October 22nd, over 80% of Tap-Fu
players are still playing a pirated copy.
The developer also counters arguments that piracy serves a "try before you buy" function for many users. In Tap-Fu
's first week of release, Smells Like Donkey observed that "not a single pirate bought Tap-Fu
after playing it."
Smells Like Donkey collected its data through Tap-Fu
's online leaderboards, which require users to manually submit high scores. When sending a score, players also reveal whether their copy of the game has been pirated.
's piracy rates mirror statements made by ngmoco VP Alan Yu at GDC China earlier this month
. In his keynote, Yu claimed that ngmoco-published games typically suffer from a 50%-90% rate in their first week of release.
Smells Like Donkey attributes the platform's high piracy rates to the ease in which iPhone users can "jailbreak" their devices and run unofficial code. The developer claims that pirating an iPhone game is "MUCH easier than actually buying it on iTunes." Tap-Fu
was pirated and made available as a cracked download less than 40 minutes after its initial App Store release.