Pirated Android games being sold on the Android Market?
It had to happen sooner or later. The Android ecosystem is an epic mess of badly thought out business models all in the name of openness, and that has now come back to bite both Gameloft and Google in the ass from the looks of it. Gameloft as you probably know is one of the biggest mobile game developers out there and they have some of the most technically complex games on both iOS and Android. On iOS there’s the Apple-controlled App Store so that’s the way to get their apps on that platform, but on Android there’s nothing stopping developers from using other app stores or make their own, so Gameloft chose the latter and is only selling its games though its own website. That means you can’t get its apps on the official Android Market at all….or can you?
An observant Twitter user discovered that two of Gameloft’s games are in fact available on the Android Market – but Gameloft isn’t mentioned anywhere. Both Gangstar Miami Vindication and Fishing Kings HD can be found sold by a developer called “Cloud11010”, which likely has absolutely no connection to Gameloft seeing as there’s no mention of Gameloft on there. He didn’t even bother copy the entire description of either game from its official Gameloft pages (1, 2), but the game sells anyways and he pockets the money.
I would imagine that Gameloft is pretty pissed at this point seeing as how Google is supposed to have control over what goes on the Market, but I can’t help but consider it poetic justice for skipping the official Market to begin with. What seems to have happened here is that a guy has bought the games from Gameloft, maybe messed around with the file if there is any sort of copy protection and then submitted it to Google and gotten it on the Market. A clever scheme, and by the time Google reacts I’m sure the guy has mysteriously disappeared with the money he made off the sales.
Hopefully this will be a wake up call for both sides to show them what this stupid app store fragmentation can cause when paired with clueless Google employees.