95% of Rally Master Pro first-day downloads were illegal...
Mobile games publisher Fishlabs has revealed that its new Rally Master Pro 3D game for iPhone has been hit by a 95% piracy rate on its first day of availability today.
That means 95% of the players using the game are doing so from copies that hadn't been bought in the App Store.
CEO Michael Schade revealed the startling stat in a post on games site Touch Arcade's forums, saying "it makes it very hard to believe in the future of the App Store, sometimes".
ME contacted Schade for more details. "We track UDID's [unique device identifiers] anonymously per day, deduct the reported sales and we have the number of pirated downloads," he says. "In this case, many thousands on day one."
The Java version of Rally Master Pro 3D was distributed for free in some markets to try and beat piracy, with players paying to access extra tracks. Couldn't that model be tried on iPhone, given Apple's introduction of in-app payments?
"The model of free-to-play and monetise over time with extra features or extra content that is available online only is a dodgy game," he says.
"I can already hear the same complaints about online certification using in-app purchases to download content as we saw with Galaxy On Fire 2 in Java. Maybe it will work better on iPhone since online connectivity is better on iPhone than Java, though."
Apple has suggested that in-app payments could be a protection against piracy, but Fishlabs CTO Mark Hehmeyer isn't so sure.
"There are a lot of possibilities to encrypt the applications stronger," he tells ME. "Apple told us in-app purchase is one key against piracy, but I doubt that. We will see in the future how well in-app purchases fight piracy."
Developer unrest around the level of iPhone game piracy is increasing. Earlier this week, indie developer Smells Like Donkey complained of an 80% piracy rate for its Tap-Fu game in its first week, while publisher ngmoco recently said it faces 50-80% piracy rates when its games hit the App Store.