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What is piracy in mobile gaming and how can you prevent it?
5 mins

What is piracy in mobile gaming and how can you prevent it?

Table of Contents:

    Piracy is a significant issue in the world of mobile gaming. Billions of people play games on their phones every day. To a scammer, every single one of these players presents an opportunity to mislead, grab data, and steal money. 

    For mobile gaming developers and publishers, stopping piracy is a priority because it has the potential to destroy revenue, reputation, and trust. In 2022, 33% of mobile game developers reported a moderate to significant impact on revenue caused by piracy. Thankfully, today there are a variety of measures your business can take to prevent piracy. 

    In this blog, we’ll be exploring piracy in mobile gaming and how you can prevent it by touching on a number of topics, including: 

    • Piracy in mobile gaming
    • How can businesses detect if their mobile games have been pirated? 
    • Impact of mobile gaming piracy on businesses
    • How can businesses prevent their mobile games from being pirated?

    Piracy in mobile gaming

    Piracy is an unfortunate reality of any industry involved in the delivery of entertainment and experiences to the general public. The mobile gaming industry in particular is a hotbed of scammers and pirates because there are so many games and so many gamers. 

    Across Apple, Android, and other operating systems and mobile devices, pirates have devised various ways to steal gaming content, leach off legitimate brands and mislead consumers. Major app marketplaces like the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store, have their own security measures to prevent the sale of hacked mobile games and pirated free-to-play apps. However, scammers find shady third-party marketplaces to sell their pirated games and hide their activity from gaming businesses and regulators. 

    On top of this, piracy in gaming is accepted by many gamers as well. According to a survey, 10% of gamers openly admitted to accessing gaming content illegally in 2022. This is an indication of how willing some gamers are to circumvent the legal routes to play games without paying. This is especially true for mobile gaming where it is easier to access pirated versions of games than it may be on video game consoles like the Playstation or Xbox. While most gamers will only buy legitimate versions of the game, developers and publishers will know that a certain segment will always choose the pirated version, especially if it is cheaper and easier to access. 


    How can businesses detect if their mobile games have been pirated? 

    One of the easiest ways to detect if your mobile game has been pirated is to simply search for your game online. A quick Google search can reveal whether there are pirated versions of your game available online. If you struggle to find them it could be easy for you to assume that your customers may also struggle, but this may not always be the case. There are cases where pirates will modify app names or intentionally use strategies to avoid being detected.

    You can also do more targeted searches for mobile apps on various marketplaces like the iOS App Store, Google Play Store, Amazon Appstore, or Steam. Then you can manually search for pirated versions on third-party app stores and more niche marketplaces that specialize in selling repackaged, hacked, and cracked mobile games. 

    These manual searching methods are quite time-consuming. Nevertheless, they should give you a good idea of whether your app has been targeted by scammers and where you need to implement new app protection measures.  

    Impact of mobile gaming piracy on businesses

    Mobile gaming piracy will impact your business in a variety of ways, especially if you allow it to continue unchecked. The most important areas that you will feel being affected are your revenue, your reputation, and your relationship with your customers. 

    • Revenue

    Piracy in mobile gaming will have a direct impact on the amount of revenue you receive if you are a mobile gaming developer or publisher. For example, if 1 in 10 users of your game are accessing it via pirated software or illegitimate gateways then their money will be going to digital pirates and bad actors, not to your business. 

    If your user base is spending its money on cracked mobile games you will also be limited in your ability to receive revenue via in-game monetization. The more pirates target your game the less revenue you will receive. Furthermore, if you allow pirates to steal from you over an extended period they will not be discouraged from doing so again which will put future revenue at risk. 

    • Reputation

    If you are continually hit by mobile gaming piracy your app’s reputation will also suffer, which means that your business will suffer. If you can’t protect your product then competitors, partners, and consumers will not see you as a serious business. You will develop a bad reputation and you will become known for being an easy target for mobile gaming pirates. 

    Scammers will also impact your reputation by flooding the marketplace with inferior and illegitimate versions of your game. Your brand’s image will suffer as well as the overall image of your gaming intellectual property (IP).

    • Customer relationship 

    Any customer relationship is built on trust. Piracy impacts the ability of customers to trust your business. If they accidentally purchased a pirated version of your game and subsequently had a bad customer experience they may be less willing to trust your brand in the future. One way to prevent your customer relationship from deteriorating is by ensuring that they are protected when interacting with your game. 

    How can businesses prevent their mobile games from being pirated?

    • Intellectual property protection

    Video games are a form of intellectual property that can be protected by copyrights, patents, and trademarks. With copyrights, you have a legal basis to protect your IP and pursue any IP infringers. 

    Intellectual property rights like copyrights and trademarks ensure that scammers won’t be able to copy, sell or distribute your mobile game while engaging in an illegal act. Of course, some people will still pirate your mobile games despite knowing that what they’re doing is illegal. This is why you also need to use other anti-piracy techniques. 

    • Manual monitoring and takedown requests.

    You can also try to prevent your mobile games from being pirated by manually monitoring the presence of pirated versions of your games on marketplaces. When you find them you can then request the marketplace owners to take them down for violating your intellectual property. 

    While this method is correct in principle, it is ultimately not a cost-effective or efficient way to prevent mobile gaming piracy. Unfortunately, there are too many pirates and most of them are too deceptive. It is time-consuming to manually monitor and take down all the pirates, which is why you need a more sophisticated and automated solution. 

    • Red Points’ Anti Piracy services

    Red Points’ Anti Piracy Services are the most efficient, comprehensive, and reliable way to prevent your mobile games from being pirated. By monitoring, reviewing, and enforcing your intellectual property (IP) rights, we will help you remove illegally pirated versions of your mobile games and increase the value of your intellectual property. 

    • Monitor

    Our monitoring process is powered by automated bots that crawl the web to uncover sources of piracy. Machine learning uses your detection history to refine the bots’ search and make the detection process more precise. As we monitor potential intellectual property infringements we will log them all in a list for you to review on our platform. 

    • Validate

    As you review the list of potential infringements you will be able to validate which ones you want to pursue and which ones you want to ignore. This validation process allows you to narrow down your targets and start to take action against them. You can also automate the validation of certain infringements based on rules that you create to ensure the process is efficient. 

    • Enforce

    Following validation, we will enforce your IP rights against the infringers on your behalf. We will send de-index and removal requests based on your validation rules to ensure that infringing content on any online marketplace is quickly taken down. 

    After we have removed pirated games we will then provide you with in-depth and insightful reports and dashboards. This information will help you understand your anti piracy coverage and quantify the impact of our anti piracy efforts. 

    What’s Next

    Piracy in mobile gaming doesn’t have to be a drain on your business. With proper protection, you can safeguard your brand, your revenue, and your customers from the schemes and tricks of mobile gaming pirates. 

    Red Points’ Anti Piracy Services are the best option to help protect your business. Our software allows you to track and remove illegally pirated content. It also empowers you to pursue the scammers, via out-of-court actions, and gives you all the insightful data you need to enhance your future Anti Piracy policies. 

    Ultimately, to stay one step ahead of mobile app pirates, you have to be proactive. If you have robust defensive protections in place and a good understanding of how pirates might target your business, then you can successfully safeguard your mobile games from piracy. To learn more about Red Points’ Anti Piracy services, request a demo here today.


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