UPDATE: Lucky Frame has provided us with some updated stats: Gentlemen! now has over 6,000 players on Android, with just 50 paid downloads.
Gentlemen!, a brand new title from Scottish development studio Lucky Frame, made its debut on Android and iOS last week. It’s been a pretty big success so far, with plenty of acclaim from reviewers, a mention in a British newspaper, and thousands of players worldwide.
But it’s not all good news for Lucky Frame. You see, only 20 of the players on Android actually paid Gentlemen!’s $4.99 price tag, the company revealed to Cult of Android.
The other 3,000 stole it.
It’s no wonder so many big development studios are going down the “freemium” route.
These numbers are a harsh reminder that app piracy on Android is still rampant, and it’s no wonder so many big development studios are going down the “freemium” route and making their titles free to download. Lucky Frame has learned this the hard way.
But the company remains surprisingly upbeat about Gentlemen’s launch.
“The main thing to say is that we’re really pleased with our numbers,” Lucky Frame director Yann Seznec told Cult of Android. “Not only are our piracy rates very high, but our play statistics are high as well – so these are no casual pirates downloading the game and never playing.”
“The engagement in the game is really strong, and we are super proud of that. We’ve made a great game, and people are playing it on a wide scale. That’s always a good thing.”
Having thousands of people play your game on a regular basis is a good thing, but it’s too bad that the time and effort Lucky Frame has put into making Gentlemen! so awesome isn’t being rewarded on Android.
The title may have over 3,000 players on Google’s platform, but it has only made $99.80 — that’s before Google’s cut and other deductions. That’s hardly fair now, is it.
Android’s piracy problem is unlikely to go away.
And Android’s piracy problem is unlikely to go away. Google’s “open” approach to the platform means it’s easy for users to install apps and games themselves — they don’t have to be downloaded from Google Play — and so installing a pirated title is as easy as finding its APK on the Internet and opening it up.
It’s a different story on iOS, of course. Apple’s approach is the complete opposite, so iPhone and iPad users have to jailbreak to circumvent the App Store and install apps and games from other sources. And even then, obtaining “cracked” iOS titles isn’t as easy as finding their Android counterparts.
On iOS, Gentlemen! has seen over 150 paid downloads, and Lucky Frame is hoping its glowing user reviews will attract more as the weeks go by.
So, if you’ve ever wondered why most Android titles are free and ad-supported, you should now have a better understanding why this approach works best for lots of developers. Giving away titles and finding other ways to make money from them is the best way to recoup developments costs.
Fortunately, Lucky Frame won’t give up on Android, but it’s unlikely it’ll release a paid game again.
Giving away titles and finding other ways to make money from them is the best way for developers to recoup their costs.
“We’re not going to stop releasing games on Android,” Seznec told us. “We certainly plan on always having a free version available on Android now, and we want to work out a clever and non-annoying approach to getting people to transition from free to paid.”
“I think there are good ways of getting people to pay within the app, but we want to be careful not to make anything that has a pay-to-win model,” Seznec added. “So we’ll be trying different approaches and see how they work.”
If you haven’t already discovered Gentlemen, we urge you to check it out. It’s a wonderful game in which two players duel with knives, bombs, and homing pigeons. It has beautiful visuals and a great soundtrack, and it’ll keep you entertained for hours.