We all know pirates; they do it out of laziness, greed, procedure, or the pure pleasure of doing something forbidden from a secure position. Illegal downloads are a hangup for Android, which has always dragged behind iOS in terms of developer benefits. Although this disparity is evening out, it’s still true that a very high percentage of users continue to illegally download paid apps. So let’s have a serious chat here on a few reasons not to pirate Android apps that are as obvious as they are illuminating.
There’s a free version of almost everything
Lite versions of apps are a brilliant way to use a tool at no cost, and while you might not have access to advanced features, you also might not need them anyway. In fact, in many cases the only difference between a paid and a free version is that the latter includes integrated ads and one or two advanced settings that you won’t ever use.
Nevertheless, such has been the proliferation of the freemium model that the paid app business model has begun to fall into disuse in the face of the ‘Free’ tagline. A good example that everyone knows is that of Rovio games, and in particular the Angry Birds saga, which began its path on iOS as a paid app that was later modified for its release on Android, where it was offered completely free but with integrated advertising and the option to use micropayments to unlock levels faster. In other words, a free version no longer cuts off certain features, but sustains itself through advertising.
The prices are ridiculously low
Is it really worth it to pirate a product that costs less than a coffee? It’s true that certain countries don’t exactly have the same facilities in terms of payment methods and currency conversions to local rates. But there are solutions to these problems. Using VPNs could be a solution for making secure purchases from countries where it would otherwise be impossible. We’ve already explained on the blog how to configure a VPN to camouflage your connection so it looks like you’re in a different country. In any case, and to go back to the previous point, except for a few video games, there’s always a free alternative to keep from having to pay, even if it means swallowing a bit of publicity.
Pirated apps may contain malicious software
When you download from a reliable location you can be sure you’ll get the original file with no additions. If you opt to externally download apps in APK format you need to be wary of where you’re downloading from. (Unless it’s from ultra-secure Uptodown, friends!) A recent study, the Arxan State of Mobile App Security Report 2014, confirms that almost all of the top 100 most downloaded paid apps and 20 free ones for Android and iOS have clones with malware, which is yet another reason to always choose legal software.
You’re hurting the industry
Put yourself in the shoes of a developer who’s managed to release an app that then gets downloaded by millions of users but doesn’t get to see the revenue for this volume. This is just what USTWO found out when they discovered that some 95% of downloads of its popular game Monument Valley were pirated (the game costs less than €/$4 and was even free for a while in the Amazon Store). It’s for this reason that it’s increasingly common to see development studios closing their doors or reducing the ambition of their projects given how difficult it is to balance the books.
Interesting fact: Only 5% of Monument Valley installs on Android are paid for. 40% on iOS. There’s a sneak peak of data!
— ustwo games (@ustwogames) January 5, 2015
Jack of all trades, master of none
Let’s take the example here of the compulsive pirate gamer: that old dog with his towers of DVDs with loads of downloaded console games, his keygen, and his installation steps in a txt file. He’s certain not to have played more than 30 minutes of most of the titles in his collection. The same thing happens with Android: what’s the point of having a hard drive full of pirated APKs if you’re never going to use them and you’ll have to be constantly looking for new files every time the official apps get updated? Neither practical nor fun, and you’ll probably do yourself more of a favor to download Sunrise Calendar instead of pirating the ad-free version of Today Calendar just for the pleasure of doing it.