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News  7, Apr 2014

How can indie game piracy on Amazon be curbed?

Recent piracy victim Touchten Games says programmes such as Dex Protector and public education can help stop illegal practices

Infinite Sky is one of the latest victims of online piracy recently. Image credit: Touchten Games

A few days ago, developer Touchten Games saw its game Infinite Sky on Amazon. However, the company had not sanctioned and authorised the game’s appearance on the popular online store.

Rather, a company by the name of Banana Games was selling the title on Amazon without Touchten’s consent, making this an act of piracy. While this rampant act was recent, this wasn’t an isolated case. Qajoo Studio‘s Run Princess and Armor Games’ Infectonator were also sold on Amazon under a proxy company, where it potentially could earn sales that was meant for its publishers and creators.

Touchten Games told e27, the unethical process of ripping off games and selling it as your own is easy. First off, pirates can download the free .apk file from the target game’s page on Google Play. Then, the pirates can set up a proxy company via Amazon; in this case it’s called Banana Games. They then put the game up on sale as if it was their own. All proceeds and payment will go straight to Banana Games with no possible hassle.

Also Read: Something’s burning within Amazon: the Fire TV

At this point in time, the Amazon links are taken down. However, Touchten CEO Anton Soeharyo said that the process of reporting copyright infringement is very tedious and requires a lot of legwork on the developer’s part. In contrast, setting up a fake company to reap money from other people’s work on Amazon is easy. So how can this be solved?

Soeharyo suggested that developers use an app called Dex Protector that prevents IP theft and code tampering for Android applications. Of course, the price of the app isn’t friendly for beginners and students as it’s S$651.84 (US$515), but he feels that it is the easiest solution.

He also said that public education would be a long-term solution to curbing it. “[From this], customers can learn not to support piracy, while future hackers and crackers will be shamed and stop their activity.” (Sic)

He added that digital store managers and operators should be vigilant and proactive in finding pirated copies on their sites and ban them.

Jonathan Toyad

Jonathan Toyad

If you want an elaborate answer on who would win in a fight between Ultraman and Godzilla, Jonathan Toyad is your man. A six-year veteran in the game journalism industry, he did words and videos for outlets such as GameSpot, GameAxis, IGN and Stuff.TV. Fears coyotes and scorched earths.

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