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Pirates force game developer Madfinger to offer Android app for free

"Unbelievably high" rates of Android piracy have driven Madfinger Games to offer its first-person zombie shooter Dead Trigger for free.

Amidst a bug-infested upgrade last week, the game developer announced that the Android version of Dead Trigger would be knocked down to a free download.

Madfinger initially selected the a low price tag in order to make it available to as many peoples as possible. Regardless, the game's piracy rate was "soooo giant," Madfinger said in a statement posted to Facebook.

Responses to Madfinger's post were varied, some agreeing with the decision to turn the game into a freebie, while others protested the change, complaining that the company gave in to the pirates' demands.

User Sam Alderson played devil's advocate, writing that he understands customers' unhappiness, "because they [paid] a dollar for something when everyone else got it free a matter of weeks later." A dollar isn't much, he said, but out of principle, Alderson said he understands people's annoyance.

On Friday, Madfinger announced on Facebook that Dead Trigger's Android update was available in the Google Play store, but later warned users with the Jelly Bean-enhanced Nexus 7 or Galaxy Nexus not to download the upgrade, due to a development bug.

The company yesterday wrote that it was working with Google to remove the bug, shortly before making its public statement regarding the price drop.

Player Encho Topalov had no qualms with the original cost. He even paid twice for some Madfinger games, for his iOS and Android devices.

"So what?! I am NOT SORRY for that money," he wrote. "I love these games and I know that my money will be spent [to make] another LOVELY PERFECT game."

Dead Trigger, Madfinger promises, will not be a freemium app, ensuring that all players will be able to play without being forced to make in-app purchases.

The game is now available on the Google Play store for free. Madfinger also offers Shadowgun and Samurai II, which range in price from £2.49 to £3.75 in the Android marketplace.

As more Android devices upgrade to Google's new Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, fewer developers should have to contend with piracy issues, based on a report from security researcher Jon Oberheide, who deemed the new OS the "most secure version" ever released.

Jelly Bean is the first Android OS to implement address space layout randomisation (ASLR) security, Oberheide said, which will prevent hackers and malware merchants from exploiting loopholes in the system. Google has also built data execution prevention technologies into its newest generation OS, turning the popular device platform into a wall of security.

In March, game developer Mika Mobile announced that it will no longer be supporting Android since the platform is simply not lucrative enough to justify the development and support costs it requires.