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Piracy on Android is a Huge Problem. Is There any Solution?

Piracy-on-Android
Written by Sushil Sharma

There’s nothing new about piracy on Android. It’s real and is probably the biggest threat to the whole Android ecosystem. Android, being the most populated mobile operating system, is full of pirates – be it those who make illegitimate copies of apps or those who install and use such illegitimate copies. Every year piracy on Android hits a new record. Everyday apps & games are pirated and are injected with malicious codes. If not all, at least majority of apps available on untrustworthy sources have such codes that can easily steal your personal data or credentials.

Is piracy really a big problem or I’m just making a huge deal out of it? Does it really affect the whole Android ecosystem? Does it really make a negative impact on the app developers? The answer is a big fat YES.

Piracy is attached with Android from a long time. For example – back in the days, when the Dead trigger was just launched, it had a price tag of $0.99. But because of high piracy rate, the developers were forced to make the game free on Android.

In 2012, Android Authority reported that only 10% of the apps that were downloaded in that year were actually purchased. So is that an indication that piracy was a huge problem even in 2012? And the situation has only worsened in 2016.

After the game Monument Valley was launched, its developers shared an unbelievable statistics about their game’s piracy rate via Twitter. The tweet said that only 5% of Monument Valley installs on Android were actually purchased.

Let’s discuss a recent example now. You must know about Alto’s adventure, a downhill skiing game, which was launched on both Android and iOS a few months back. On iOS, it comes with a price tag of $2.99, but on Android, it’s completely free with some In-App Purchases. The developer of the game said that the rate of piracy on Android is so high that launching an app with a price tag does not make any sense anymore.

There is not much that can be done to reduce or control app piracy. Android is meant to be open source by design. This is what allows apps to be pirated. Apps are not pirated because users are not getting what they want, apps are pirated simply because it can be done. Another reason is that majority of Android users are not willing to pay for the apps and games that they want to use. That’s the truth and nothing can be done about it as long as the mindset of Android users does not change. Another reason could be that in some countries, like China, the Google play store is not officially available and the users have to use the cracked version of apps they want to use.

No matter how much I make fun of Apple fanboys, one thing that I like about them is that, unlike Android users, they are willing to spend a few bucks for the apps they want to use.

Not only does app piracy affects the developers monetarily, it also affects an app’s ranking and visibility in the Google play store. Rankings are based on a number of downloads via Google play and since some apps have lots of illegitimate downloads, its ranking in the store is heavily affected. Not only does it affect the app developers but using pirated apps also opens users to various security threats.

Honestly, there is no reason for you to pirate apps since there are various ways to get paid apps for free, legally.

Why does piracy prevail? The short answer is because it’s free and it can be done. Most of the Android users have the thinking that they should not pay for the apps they want to use and love since it’s already available for free outside Google play store. The problem of app piracy cannot be solved as long as such thinking isn’t changed.