Dead Trigger has been the cause of much controversy lately. Not because of violence or zombie action though; because it was initially a paid app ($0.99) and was made free three weeks after its release. This, of course, enraged many of the users who paid for the game, as they felt cheated.

Despite its attempts to help users understand the reasoning behind the decision to make the game free, Madfinger has been under constant attack from players who wanted to something to compensate the [measly] dollar that they spent on the game in its initial weeks on the market. It looks like that compensation is coming soon.

Yesterday, Madfinger pushed an update to Dead Trigger that fixes a few bugs, made the SWAT zombies easier to kill (so higher levels don't require IAPs), and brought several other new features (changelog). After installing the update, MF added a nice little tidbit to the "News" section:


So there you have it, straight from the horse's mouth. An update is coming with a "reward" for those who purchased Dead Trigger.

And now we play the waiting game. Good thing we have Dead Trigger to play while we're waiting.

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • fixxmyhead

    finally something so we can get all those crybabies to stop complaining. this game was well worth the 1$

    • nhizzat

      It is well worth the $1 I used to buy it the day before it went free.

  • RCCola85

    I bought the game the day it was released and for some reason I'm not allowed to update to 1.1.0 and am stuck on version 1.0.1 (update is unavailable to either my Galaxy Nexus or my Nexus 7). Anyone have a clue why? I see there's something on their page telling you not to update but there are several reviews from people using 4.1.1 JellyBean on both devices I own saying they are on version 1.1.0 & everything is running fine. Very confusing.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      Have you tried uninstalling and re-installing? That should bump you up to the newest version. Granted, you'll lose all progress thus far.

      • RCCola85

        Not yet, I was thinking of trying that and restoring the data from my Titanium Backup so I don't lose my progress so far. Worst case scenario it doesn't work, I'd just revert to 1.0.1, but it just seems like a strange situation. I know I'm not the only one who's having the issue of not seeing the update on my device either. Thanks for the response.

      • http://ashn.myopenid.com/ Ash

        Titanium backup then restore.

    • steb0ne

      Don't install the update...it doesn't work on Jelly Bean yet

      • RCCola85

        That's not true, as there are dozens of reviews from people with the Nexus 7 running the latest 1.1.1 version. It seems the issue is with updating the app while on Jelly Bean. Madfinger themselves state the game plays fine for "new users."

        • steb0ne

          I recall when I installed it the note from the developer recommended not updating it if u were on 4.1.1

          • RCCola85

            Right, the issue seems to be updating, we both said that. People on 4.1.1 are running it just fine.

    • http://twitter.com/thepowerofscott Scott Nienhuis

      Well.. here's a direct quote from Dead Trigger's description on the Play Store if it helps..

      "!!! Android 4.1 Users. If you already have version 1.0.1 don't update to
      1.1.0. This doesn't run. We are working on fix with Google. Version
      1.1.0 run correctly for new users."

    • RCCola85

      So, update to anyone interested in this, I just did as Cameron suggested and uninstalled the game, installed it fresh from the Play store then restored my Titanium Backup (data only) from the 1.0.1 version and now version 1.1.0 is running perfectly on my Nexus 7 (JB 4.1.1) with all my progress intact.

  • GuidZilla

    Bought once, would buy again.

  • nhizzat

    While it's a great gesture, I feel that it is wholly unnecessary...

  • http://twitter.com/physicalist09 Physicalist

    Their reasoning was silly to begin with. Especially for a F2P game like Dead Trigger, piracy isn't that much of a problem. They're a bunch of liars. Now they have even more people who didn't pay.

    • Himmat Singh

      Except that they 'forgot' IAPs are even easier to hack once you have the right tools.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745689461 Hal Motley

      I agree, charging for a freemium game is a bit of a bad idea. I mean pretty much every other freemium game out there (on any platform) is free to download and play, but they force you to buy the ingame currency as it makes the game easier to play.

      IMHO, I don't think Madfinger should have charged that dollar in the first place, if they were going to use the freemium business model.

      My 2 cents!

  • ChrisLH

    I need to come up with a clever marketing gimmick like this for our apps. Lot's of free press.

    • http://twitter.com/easeves Mr E

      lol. they've definitely gotten a lot of attention lately

      • Himmat Singh

        Yea they sure do. Though I doubt they planned it like this. Just the luck of the draw I guess. But the way they've handled this issue may come back to haunt them in the future.

        • http://twitter.com/easeves Mr E

          Indeed. I bought Shadowgun due to its popularity (and it was on sale :)). So I got Dead Trigger on release day. Of course, my phone at the time wasn't supported until this past update. I'm sure it's hard to be a dev at their level, but all the little customer support issues coupled with their poor communication really reflects badly on them.

          That said, they do produce good games, and I'm glad to see that they appear to be trying to make everyone happy.

        • ChrisLH

          I think they planned it exactly like this. There's no other reason for them to claim piracy for their $1 app while continuing to sell their other games for $3 and $4. Now they get a ton of free exposure and press from most of the major blogs, get hundreds of thousands of downloads of a game which has an in app purchase revenue model.

          It's a smart move. We'll see if it comes back to haunt them, but it'll probably have to haunt them at the bank.

          • Himmat Singh

            No, no. What I meant was they didn't plan to receive this much of attention amongst the Android press and beyond. What I feel though is that they planned to make the game F2P from the onset, then thought "hey we can make some quick bucks for selling it for $1 initially".

          • ChrisLH


            Maybe so - I don't know that our positions are mutually exclusive. Maybe they did plan on making a quick buck by deciding to charge a $1.

            But why claim piracy over their $1 game and not make their other games free too? It's inconsistent and it benefits them greatly to make an exaggerated claim of piracy for a game depending on In App Purchases. If piracy is so bad for a $1 game, then surely its just as bad or worse for a $4 game.

            Sales for Dead Trigger were basically flat (look at the 30 day chart in the Play Store) and they made an attention-grabbing statement which gave them lots of free press and resulted in hundreds of thousands of downloads. For an app to be successful with In App Purchases, it needs to have a lot of downloads because only a fraction of people are going to make an IAP. Whether it was always a F2P model or they wanted to make a quick buck by selling it for a $1, they weren't getting a ton of downloads. Claiming piracy fixed that.

            We're in the process of converting the current versions of our pay apps to free apps. Maybe we'll claim piracy as the reason for the change and see if we can generate a lot of press. Certainly issuing a press release stating that the reason for the change was that our original revenue model wasn't generating enough money isn't going to capture headlines.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1534593949 Vinny Tuzeo

    had i know about the game sooner i would've bought it in a heartbeat, this game is by far the best one i have. Stupid hoes, .99$ torrent? REALLY?

    • Himmat Singh

      You must be dumb to think that people would torrent/pirate it rather than buy it from the Play store for a freaking buck. There's more to that. Do some research dude.

      • http://twitter.com/easeves Mr E

        Good point. I'm not sure what came of it, but people in a previous thread were saying that if you changed roms and re-installed it, it would show up as unofficial/pirated. Plus, a la Gameloft and EA, if there are market restrictions it puts people in a difficult position (not that pirating is justified).

        • Himmat Singh

          "Difficult position". Heck yea. Just like what happens with all of Gameloft's and some of EA's titles with me. I really hate it that I have to find 'pirated' copies when in true fact buying it would be so much more easier.

          Btw, they counted China into their piracy stats, which is plain wrong since China has about a billion Android devices with no Play Store support. And yea what you say in the first sentence is also true.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1534593949 Vinny Tuzeo

            wait...what? i was saying exactly that. It's stupid to pirate such an inexpensive...and QUALITY game.

  • Bariman43

    I was one of the ones who bought Dead Trigger, but I was not one of the spoiled who were complaining. I don't want the compensation reward. It's a freaking dollar, the price of a soda from the machine. The only difference is soda is temporary, the game is permanent.

  • Sqube

    I'm glad to get something, but holy shit, it was a dollar. The sense of entitlement on some people is fucking breathtaking.

    • Himmat Singh

      Ya well maybe you should try living on a dollar a day. Then you'll know what it's worth.

      • Sqube

        I'm sorry, are you trying to draw a correlation between living on a dollar a day and a one-time expenditure of a single dollar to purchase a game?

        Some people have to live on a dollar a day. Some people can live with a one-time expenditure of one dollar without having to choose not to eat for the next month.

        I'm not saying a dollar is worthless. It obviously isn't. But if you bought this game, that means you had enough money to have a cell phone plan. You bought a cell phone. You're living in the fucking lap of luxury compared to the person who has to live on a dollar a day.

        So what's your conclusion here? What point are you trying to make? If I was an asshole, I'd be immediately drawing the conclusion that you're one of those entitled people and you got butthurt because you thought I called you out. That's not an appropriate conclusion to draw, though. Please, elaborate.

      • Farseer

        That's not a reasonable argument. There's no way you'd have the hardware to play this if you to live on $1 a day.

    • Cheeseball

      People paid something, therefore they are entitled to something in return, regardless of the amount. What's the problem?

      • Sqube

        You already got what you were entitled to. You paid $0.99 and you got the game in return. The fact that someone else didn't have to pay means that they got lucky, not that you got robbed.

        I'm just imagining how ridiculous the logic seems when we stretch it to larger purchases. If I negotiate a deal to buy a car for $15,000 and you buy the car for $25,000, what are you entitled to? You obviously thought the car was worth $20,000, or you wouldn't have purchased it.

        Similarly, the game was worth $0.99 to me. Frankly, I probably would have paid more. The fact that other people didn't have to pay doesn't mean that the game is worthless. It means, man, they got lucky. But whatever. Them's the breaks.

        • Himmat Singh

          Point is, you don't get the point.

          • Confuzzled_Consumer

            Actually he did. We got what we paid for and it doesn't really matter that they made it free because at the time we purchased the game, it was worth $0.99. Hell the quality of the game makes it worth more than a dollar. Am I miffed that it suddenly went free? A little, but I'm not angry. It's a dollar. Sure I could have gotten a burger instead but I'd rather pay developers who actually produces apps and games I'd want to own and actually listens to their customers.

          • Sqube

            I was going to type a whole wall of text about how I understand the worth of a dollar. Then I realized that you're trolling me. So... well played.

        • Cheeseball

          I can agree that people who paid $0.99 *think* they've got what they paid for, because even I believe the game is worth more.

          But when a company reduces the price (without further notice, I might add) two weeks into a product's live, that means they think it's right to shortchange their loyal (or at least, early adopters) by letting everyone else "get lucky".

          Madfinger giving this reward is basically their way of saying sorry to the early adopters. Nothing wrong with this action.

          • Sqube

            Eh, I dunno. Early adopters have always had to suffer in one way or another, whether it be by being the first ones to find hardware bugs or having to pay a premium. It's what you get for wanting to be first.

            I wonder how much of this is an apology to early adopters, and how much of this is just an attempt to get the early adopters to shut the fuck up about all this bitching and whining. If they give us $1 credit for IAPs, I think it's a STFU. If we get special kit, I'll be more inclined to think of it as an apology/

            I see the point you're trying to make, though. Either way, I'm cool with it. These days, my logic behind purchasing software has as least as much to do with supporting the devs as it does playing the actual game itself.

  • http://twitter.com/easeves Mr E

    I gladly paid the $1 on release day for it, but I have to admit I felt a little miffed when they dropped it to free. The game's definitely worth it, but I think it starts to make you second-guess future purchases. They way it played out just made it seem like they were taking advantage of early adopters and their loyal fan-base.

  • Simon Belmont

    I proudly paid $1 for Dead Trigger. I didn't get mad when they made it free.

    If I can help pay a developer of a replay rich game, then I'm happy. They need to eat too.

    • Joris

      2nd that! What is a dollar in a mans/womans life?

      • bungadudu

        If you don't have a dollar in youre pocket, you don't eat! Easy as that!
        I paid a dollar for that game, for which I worked ~1 hour. Of course I want something back!

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

          You got something back: a game.

          • Cheeseball

            Yes, but he could have gotten something more (basically the game and $0.99 worth of IAP), if he had waited. He got fooled by time, but at least Madfinger is being awesome about it by giving back to their early adopters.

          • Simon Belmont

            Nobody got fooled. He paid $1 for goods/service and received said goods/service.

            Do you feel cheated when you buy something at the supermarket and then notice there was a coupon for $1 off the following week? I know I don't.

          • Cheeseball

            I wouldn't with your example situation, but I would feel cheated if the supermarket runs a free shopping spree promo on all the $0.99 items I bought without any prior notice. Hence being fooled by time.

          • Simon Belmont

            So, in your world, all prices must always remain the same or already be free or you'll feel cheated? No one is allowed to lower a price without giving you prior notice?

            I'm sorry, but that's what caveat emptor is, my friend. Let the buyer beware. That includes buying a shoddy product or, in this case, a price that goes down after the fact. That's how the real world works.

          • Cheeseball

            No, you're not getting it. If it was a price reduction, then that means the products have lost some of it's value due to time. (e.g. food, bargain bin items, etc.)

            If it was to become free, then that means that the company really means to give away the product but wanted to reap any initial income from early adopters.

            Caveat emptor does say that there is no requirement for a company provide a refund or exchange, but can provide some sort of credit, which Madfinger seems to be doing here.

          • Simon Belmont

            I get what you mean just fine, thank you very much. I just don't agree with you.

            You're basically feeling cheated because this company tried one way of selling the game and then decided to switch to another "too early in the game and without warning," which is fully within their right to do and despite the fact they are giving you recompense in the form of bonus content exclusive to early adopters. Did you know that Imangi of Temple Run fame did the same thing? It originally cost money to buy it in the iOS App Store, but then they switched to freemium. I didn't hear of any fallout from that, and it ended up being more profitable that way for them. That game remains highly regarded and popular as well.

          • Cheeseball

            Just to clarify, I'm not the one feeling "cheated", especially now they are giving back to the early adopters.

          • Simon Belmont

            Good. Then there is nothing further to say.

            Always nice to hear opposing viewpoints. Especially in a coherent manner that isn't dotted with profanity. Yes, that was a complement. Good day, sir.

          • Simon Belmont

            *compliment. Whoops.

            I need my morning coffee. Heh.

          • PI

            it doesn't matter what you think, it was bad marketing from them and generated a lot of negative comments. They weren't going to do anything about that, but they had to concede it was a bad move in the end.

          • Simon Belmont

            Nor does it matter what you think in the grand scheme of things. What was done, was done.

            At this point all anyone can do is reap the benefits of being an early adopter or download it for free. It's a great game no matter how you slice it.

          • tBs_Battousai

            This game is a shoddy product... worst game I've played on Android...

          • tBs_Battousai

            This game is a shoddy product... worst game I've played on Android...

          • faceless128

            i would feel bad if i bought a tv dinner and when i got home, the rice was unlocked, but the chicken and biscuit were an IAP

          • Simon Belmont

            Haha. I genuinely laughed at that comment.

            I could only imagine IAP in that case would stand for "In Appetizer Purchase?" Yes, that was corny....oh there I go again.

      • Cheeseball

        A lot.

  • http://twitter.com/easeves Mr E

    I have to say, despite being a little critical of Madfinger and how they've handled this Dead Trigger debacle, I really do feel sorry for devs here. IF piracy really is so rampant, it's a tough situation to be in when trying to put out a high-quality game/app.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=636165701 Zaeem Shahzad

    I really think those developers deserve the money. They worked hard for such an awesome game!

  • nejai

    Great for Madfinder for react to his customer and do something about its concerns.
    I been following the DeadTriggger case and bugged me how many people get angry at users wich complaints , I mean if someone pay for something have its rights, doesn´t matter if was a merely $1... most (if not every) people that complaint is because they feel is not "right" not because they are cheap and a dollar means that much for them...

  • http://profiles.google.com/ottermann Jason Heiken

    Paid my buck the day it was released. I knew it was going to go free at some point, but I wasn't expecting it to go free so soon.
    The only real complaint I had was that after the tutorial you were stuck with a crappy handgun.
    Well, I did spend another dollar for some gold to buy a decent gun, and have loved the game ever since. Even bought it for my iPod...

    • UmK

      ah come on. that handgun was the best part of the game. it one-shoted everything with a single headshot, and that made for pretty quick cash. i was so bummed when it started to require more than 3 headshots to kill a zombie and i finally had to give it up and get a stupid smg :


    I wasn't part of the initial crowd who bought the app. But i did download the free version and immediately did an in app purchase just to show the devs some love.

  • flavahfav

    What about the users who would have gladly paid but didn't discover it until it went free? I.e. Nexus 7 users

    • Cheeseball

      Then those users got the game for free.

  • Steve Freeman

    It was a dollar. Not even a whole dollar, $.99. To anyone who complained: grow the F up.

  • Dominic Scatto

    (I know I'm gonna catch crap for this, but oh well) It's an effin dollar! Wait! That may not be the point, the point may be their reasoning behind it all. I think the point is just a bunch of people trying to get something for nothing; it's the same every where. People think, "Hey, if I complain enough & throw a big enough tantrum, I'll get what I want". It's kind like those kids you see at the grocery store throwing a tantrum because their parents told them they couldn't have the candy bar & all the parents do is stand there looking dumbfounded & embarrassed. So, they eventually give in just to shut the kid up. Man, if I had done that, my ass would have been beat! Right there in front of everyone! What does that solve? Hmmm...I learned no means no, to just be content with what I have, & to listen to my parents. Well, I see the 'tantrum throwing until I get my way' all the time where I work & where my g/f works. It's sad & pathetic! If you can't really afford the dollar it costs for the game, then you shouldn't have bought a smartphone. That's like buying an expensive vehicle & complaining about your high insurance; or buying a big vehicle & complaining about having to fill up all the time. The game is great! You helped the developers out for making such a great game! Shut up & just be happy with what you have!

    • Cheeseball

      That's not the point as to why people are complaining. Yes, the game is easily worth more than $0.99 and many of us would've gladly paid more.

      But when they reduce the price (without prior notice) two weeks into the game's launch, that means they think they have the right to shortchange the ones who paid by letting everyone else in on the fun for free.

      If it was free from the get-go, people who thought the game is worth-more-than-free would've supported the developers by purchasing IAPs instead.

      • Simon Belmont

        Who would ever give "prior notice" on a price reduction? That's a surefire way to tank any sales you were garnering and an incompetent business decision.

        Have you ever seen any company say "pssst. by the way, don't spend any money on us right now, we're dropping the price in two weeks, so wait until then." Outside of irate employees tipping customers this information as "revenge", you would never see a company go out of its way to do this.

        • Cheeseball

          Again, that is if they were "lowering" their prices. Since the game is now free, absolutely anybody with a compatible device is able to get it for free. That is basically unfair to those who shelled out cash initially.

          • Simon Belmont

            Funny, you mention a "reduction of price" several times in your other posts. But every time I say it, you say that's wrong and that it's not a reduction, but just free.

            Last time I checked, reducing a price from $1 to free is considered a reduction in price. But, we're just arguing semantics here, now, right?

          • Cheeseball

            Fine, pushing semantics aside, it all boils down to the having a sense of entitlement since the game did have a cost. It's the "What's In It For Me?" factor.

            Yes, it's "just a dollar", and yes, the developers "gotta eat", but what about the ones who invested in them early? In lieu of good customer service, Madfinger pushes through once again, and I'm not complaining.

          • Simon Belmont

            The funny thing is, I never felt entitled to anything despite the price dropping to free. That Madfinger is going the extra mile and providing extra content for us early adopters is just icing on the cake.

            Sure, one could play the devil's advocate and say "they did this on purpose to squeeze the early adopters of extra money" but, in all reality, even the early adopters got something out it: the ability to play the game before the people that weren't willing to pony up the $1 before it went free.

  • kevyn

    This is a moot point now. When Madfinger first made this game free the people that bought it and felt cheated complained while the people who bought it and felt it was fair kept posting and telling all the people who felt cheated to shut up and stop complaining. "It's only a dollar." Now that the people that complained are about to get a reward everyone else who argued opposite needs to stop. They got what they wanted. The argument is over.

  • http://twitter.com/schtuka Schtuka

    I do not feel cheated. $1 is $1 earned. Developers need to be paid. M4 in game costs them nothing and worth the dollar I spent especially when purchases are NOT transferable between devices.

  • me

    Well damn, i didnt know about this game til after it was free. I guess i dont get the special surprise...

  • umk

    wow i just saw the downloads chart for this game and holy shit how cheap can people be?
    a mesly dollar kept more than 90% of the people who have it today from buying it. god.