Apple has earned quiet a name for pulling off apps from its App Store. But this time around its Google that is getting some heat around the blogosphere for removing Kongregate’s App from Android Marketplace. Google has removed the app swiftly probably on the grounds that the app violates the terms of service of Androids marketplace, but nothing can be said for certain at this moment as Google has not responded officially and clearly on this matter.
Speaking to Joystiq, Kongregate CEO Jim Greer said that:
The reason for the removal, and we didn’t find out until after it was already gone, was that they claim you can’t use their app store to distribute another app store — which is a reasonable restriction. But to us, what’s really bizarre, to call [Kongregate Arcade] an ‘app store’ seems like a pretty extreme stretch.
The Arcade app is essentially a portal to Kongregate’s Flash site, with access to more than 300 games formatted for mobile display and wrapped in a native layer of social features. Literally, you can go to m.kongregate.com and play any of the games, Greer insisted. And the experience will be — once you’ve got the game on your phone — just the same,” minus the “rich presentation layer” added by the app.
Prior to Kongregate, every other removal that Google has done was either a fraudulent banking app, or just some lame stuff that crossed the line. Greer is not sure, and so is the rest of the developer community whether this is a philosophical shift from Google or just a misinterpretation of the app. Greer also pointed out the existence of “Game Boy emulators” on Android marketplace, that has garnered thousands of downloads.
Kongregate’s Arcade games currently have more than 13 million gamers, and that was exactly the user base that Kongregate could have brought to Android market place. Looking at it from iPhone – Android rivalry it made perfect business sense to allow seek help from other startups in other to compete with Apple, which has gained quiet a lead in the mobile gaming arena over Google.
However, there are always two sides to a coin. Kongregate’s Arcade basically sits right at the sweet spot of a constant and free source of online games that generate revenues not from unit sales, but from advertising and sale of virtual goods within the game itself. It is this very area that led to a huge increase in Facebook user base, once it opened up its platform for gaming companies like Zynga and Playfish.
Google is certainly trying to capture the social gaming domain on mobile devices, and the move to block out Kongregate would enable Google free reign over this space. Keeping all this in perspective, it does kind of make business sense for Google to block out competitors and let the damn be with the “Do No Evil Policy”.