Android Market and Glu Mobile issues

by: John -
More On: Transformers G1: Awakening
When I picked up my HTC EVO 4G phone, I really started to purchase some games to waste some time with. Having the large screen and 1GHz Snapdragon processor allowed me to play some games at a good speed over my previous phone. Granted, the Adreno GPU on the EVO leaves a lot to be desired these days, but you can still get some fun games on it that isn’t too taxing.

One of the games I purchased quickly was Transformers G1: Awakening from Glu Games. After seeing the videos and being a Transformers G1 fan, I thought it was a no brainer for me to pick up. So, I easily provided my credit card information to Google and purchased the game from the Android Marketplace.

Now, I tend to flash my phone a lot. I love to try out new ROMs and I’m currently running Gingerbread build of Cyanogen 7 on my EVO. Seeing as the Google keeps the purchases you have made and lets you reinstall whenever, I was not one to do any backups other than games. I did use Titanium Backup to backup my progress in the Transformers G1 game, but it didn’t save the game itself. No big deal I thought.

Recently, I was reinstalling my applications after a flash to a new ROM and I was going through my list. I was using the Market option to install on my phone and I clicked on Transformers G1 listing to reinstall. Rather than starting the download, it gave me the message that the requested item could not be found. I thought maybe because I was using Gingerbread that perhaps the game wasn’t set to be displayed with the latest Android OS.

I decided to pull up the game in the web version of the Android Marketplace to push to my phone, but it didn’t appear there either. Strange, I thought. They couldn’t have taken it off the market. And I spent $3 on the game, so even if they did, I would expect some notification from the company that it was gone and perhaps I would be able to pick up a different game.

Turns out after some Googling that Glu Mobile had indeed taken the Transformers G1 game off the Android Market without any notification. A view of their game page shows that it’s still available for the iPhone and Blackberry. Why would just the Android version be gone?

Someone received and email from Glu saying that they had to pull the game from the Android Market dye to licensing issues. Ok, so why is the game still available for other phones? And why wasn’t I told about this as I spent money on the game for me to play.

This example really shows the difficulties one can come up to with digitally distributed items. And I know this isn’t exclusive to Android phones as you hear about apps being pulled all the time.

It doesn’t work this way for me on the Xbox 360. For example, there was a DLC that was released for Lumines featuring a video by Genki Rockets. It was pulled and can’t be picked up by new customers anymore. Seeing as I “purchased” the DLC before, it stays in my account and I can download it again even though it’s not available.

After my first Xbox 360 died, my new one was void of any items I’ve purchased in the past and sure enough, I was able to go into my history and redownload the Lumines DLC even though it’s not available anymore. That’s the way it should be.

I’ve sent an email off to Glu Mobile asking about my purchase a few days ago and I’ve heard nothing in return. It’s sad really that I wasn’t told of their intentions to remove the game from the Android Market nor have I heard back from my inquiry on the subject. I would have gladly spent some more money on their other games, but now I won’t be doing business with them anytime in the near future.

I’m a little more leery now on purchasing items from the Android Market, and I hope that this is a limited case. I really love digitally distributed games and I am a big proponent of services like Steam, but the mobile market needs some adjustments to make me want to spend more money on their items.

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