The issue of Android piracy has been increasingly in the news of late and it appears developers have been paying attention: a new survey reveals that more than half of Android app developers see piracy as a big issue and this number is expected to grow.
The survey, carried out in August by Protection Technology Research, a subsidiary of StarForce Technologies, asked Android app developers if they were concerned about piracy. 36.2% of respondents said the issue was “important”, 19.0% said it was “very important”, 12.4% said it was “not very important” and 32.4% said it was “not important”.
“The results of our survey show that a majority of developers recognise the Android piracy issue as a serious threat to their businesses,” said Julie Titova, business development director at PTR.
“I am sure that when we carry out this survey again, in six to 12 months time, the number of companies that will have experienced this problem at first-hand will have increased. Therefore we expect the level of concern will rise accordingly.”
While the results may not be entirely conclusive – responses came from “more than 100 developers”, according to PTR, which develops and markets software and content protection systems under the StarForce brand – it nevertheless illustrates what is an increasingly important issue for developers, especially of paid apps.
In July mobile developer Madfinger Games switched its Dead Trigger first-person shooter game from paid to free, blaming piracy (although not everyone believed them), while the US Department of Justice last month took down three websites offering pirated Android apps, in what was its first action against rogue app sites.
Google, meanwhile, is working on the issue, adding app encryption to its Jelly Bean OS. This sees paid apps in Google Play encrypted with a device-specific key both before they are delivered to the device and after stored on it.
With the issue increasingly in the news, however, and on developers’ minds, we may need something bigger than a 100-person survey to get to the bottom of it and how it is affecting developers.