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Arxan shared some alarming data on unauthorized installs on smartphones. The company also provides some ways to solve this problem.
Android controls around 77% of the smartphone market in China. However, the Google Play store doesn’texist in China at this time. Instead, there are dozens of third-party app stores in China where users candownload mobile games for their mobile devices. In some cases, app developers work with these third-party app stores to host their apps and receive revenue. However, some of these third-party app storesdon’t strike distribution deals for apps and instead, in order to stay competitive, these third-party appstores end up hosting pirated versions of apps that people download. In this situation, app developersend up left out of any revenue generated from these pirated versions of their apps. Often times thesepirated versions will also include malware or introduce game-breaking bugs. This is a critical concernfor game developers that are trying to grow audiences in China.
Multiple game developers have reported 90% or higher piracy rates for their games. The large bulk ofpiracy is seen coming from China and Russia. This holds true for mobile apps that aren’t officiallyreleased in these territories as well as apps that are released in these territories. This is an absolutelystaggering amount of piracy!
This is a very hard problem to defend against and requires three key pieces to begin to defend a gameagainst piracy.
- First — Require players to authenticate against a server in order to login and play.
- Second — Require the client to download something from the server that’s required to play,typically the player’s character record or saved game.
- Third — Make sure there’s some form of protection on the networking layer, in-memory layerand on-disk layer of a game that covers the portions of code that deal with authentication aswell as the portions dealing with receiving and unpacking the player’s saved game or state.
Grouping these three techniques together will help completely deter a hacker from pirating your game.