Monument Valley, one of the most celebrated mobile games of 2014, has fallen victim to the high rate of piracy on Android platforms.
Just 5% of Android installs of Monument Valley are paid purchases, developer Ustwo Games has revealed.
Interesting fact: Only 5% of Monument Valley installs on Android are paid for. 40% on iOS. There’s a sneak peak of data!
— ustwogames (@ustwogames) January 5, 2015
The developer seemed in quite good cheer about this fact, saying that some of the unpaid installs (0.3%) are legitimate free copies, and apologising for using the term "piracy" in describing the remainder. There's also some confusion as to whether installing the game on multiple devices with the same Google Play accounts as unpaid installs.
Still, it's pretty clear that the game has been heavily pirated. It's a fallacy to consider these installs "lost sales", as used to be de rigeur, but there's no denying Android has a major problem in this regard, whereas iOS has things more tightly locked down. There are disadvantages to Apple's stance, as well, and of course no matter which platform they choose mobile developers have to battle cheats, hackers, copycats, and discoverability problems.
Is the golden age of mobile gaming over? I don't think so: Maybe the money bubble has burst, but while we're still getting artistic gems like Monument Valley and Sword & Sworcery, as well as whatever time-sucking puzzle and casual games you're playing on your daily commute, it's hard to view mobile gaming as the scourge hardcore gamers sometimes describe it as.