The gaming industry has long been faced with a problem around game piracy, particularly as costs have increased and things like always-online DRM has been introduced. Whilst the launch of online platforms had slowed this down somewhat, it is becoming prevalent again, but mobile gaming has largely avoided this issue with this good resource of some of the most popular online gaming options – but why is it that mobile has been able to avoid piracy where other platforms have struggled with it?
The most impactful part here is that for most games, they’re offered completely free whilst relying on microtransactions or premium features that make up most of the revenue, after all there’s no need to pirate a game download if it’s already offered for free. That isn’t to say that this is the case for all games, there are some with a price attached that do get pirated online by some players, but it’s certainly much less common especially given how big the mobile gaming market is, and how low the rates of game downloads are.
After that it’s also important to mention the daily users of mobile gaming, the audience has since changed to include an older demographic which has also been targeted toward women mostly too over the past few years – this older audience is much less likely to explore alternative options whilst also having the disposable income such that buying a new game, even at a higher price if necessary, isn’t as much of an issue where other markets particularly in PC gaming had a much younger audience and may have been much more inclined to seek out other possibilities to save money.
And finally, the microtransactions too – this is something that is occurring across all gaming markets but had become more prevalent on mobile early on, all of the optional extras that come from microtransaction purchases whether through cosmetic changes or through something offered to enhance the gaming experience that aren’t available through pirated versions because of a change in DRM, those looking to take advantage of these paid features on mobile require the constant connection to the app services and to the app marketplaces too, and this has certainly had an impact at keeping piracy for mobile games lower, and for some titles non-existent too.
There seems to be no plan in sight to change this model either of a free and available game selection that focuses on other means to produce revenue, and so it’s likely piracy on mobile will remain much lower, and players will be able to continue experiencing a gaming experienced tailored to their own needs without the requirement of seeking out alternatives to enjoy it.