Monument Valley was one of the biggest mobile titles of 2014, and that’s a pretty big deal given that the game carried a premium price tag. On Monday, developer Ustwo revealed that just 5% ofMonument Valley downloads on Android — and 40% on iOS — were paid for, suggesting a huge piracy rate across both platforms. In a subsequent Re/code interview, Monument Valley producer Dan Gray took a less critical stance on piracy than some might expect.
“It’s essentially free marketing,” Gray said, noting that he believes the vast majority of those who obtained the game illegally wouldn’t have purchased it anyway, and that by spreading word of the game it may have led to additional sales. It’s impossible to know just how things would have panned out without piracy as an option, but the fact that Monument Valley ended up as a success in its the eyes of its creators shows that paid games are still a viable option.
It’s also important to note that not all of the unpaid downloaders were necessarily the result of piracy, as installs across multiple devices from a single App Store account are impossible to filter out. So, for example, if an iPhone user downloaded the game on both their phone and iPad, one of those downloads were show up as “unpaid.”