Google market policy spells doom for games?

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Google market policy spells doom for games?

Postby mad_coder » Mon Jan 12, 2009 6:00 am

I read this in the Android Market Business and Program Policies:

2. Android Market Business Policies

Returns: You have 24 hours from the time of purchase (not download) to return any applications purchased from Android Market for a full refund of any applicable fees. The option to return an application within this timeframe will be made available to you through the Android Market user interface. You may not return any Products other than applications.

Upgrades: Android Market does not provide upgrade functionality for any Products. If a Product offers free or paid upgrades, those upgrades must be obtained directly from the Developer responsible for the Product.

Reinstalls: You are allowed an unlimited number of reinstalls of each application obtained via the Market.


So basically, anyone can download a game, play it, potentially finish the game, then return it within 24 hours for a refund.

I could see a 2-4 hour turn-around, but not 24 hours. A user should know if an app or game is bad in the first 15 minutes of using it.

This may be bad news for game sales. How many times do you replay a game once you've beaten it? Some of you may, but I know I rarely replay an XBox or PC game I've beaten.

Also, there have been many times I bought a game, played it, and beat it in less than 24 hours. If I could have taken it back, I would have possibly saved $30-60 a pop!

Also, think about all those small apps that will cost $0.99. They may be silly, novel, or just kinda' fun. Someone can buy it, return it, then download/return at will when they want to show it off to someone. Sure, this is a cheap way around paying 99 cents, but it's possible that many people will do this. The only way to discourage this is to make the refund procedure a little troublesome.

In short, the best apps will likely be retained after purchase. But I wonder if this ease of return policy will cause many 99 cent app and game makers to stop developing if a huge percentage of paid for apps are returned once they've been thoroughly 'used'.

Any thoughts?
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Nothing new

Postby tberthel » Mon Jan 12, 2009 8:37 am

First technically almost anything can be returned before 30 days so while they have set it at 24 hrs does not mean that it couldn't happen up to the local legal requirements.

Here is what will happen:

1. The benefactor of the 30% per sell will want to limit fraudulent returns. So if the return system is abused it will be quickly limited.

2. Really low cost apps will probably be supported by adverts for the most part.

3. People that return a bunch could be denied the sale of future products by the developer and/or by the payment gateway.

4. Apps will be developed to keep ppls interest for a little more that 24 hours.

5. Subscriptions and License Servers.

So, I don't think it will be that big of an issue for most apks.
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Nothing new

Postby tberthel » Mon Jan 12, 2009 8:41 am

BTW, ppl did abuse the return policies of stores for expensive games and now most places limit software returns more than almost anything else.
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Postby mad_coder » Mon Jan 12, 2009 9:33 am

I can feel the abuse coming already :x

Maybe I'm wrong. People might keep the 99 cent apps as they might be not worth the trouble to return, and end up returning the more expensive games!
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Postby ErnestoGuevara » Mon Jan 12, 2009 5:29 pm

<<2. Really low cost apps will probably be supported by adverts for the most part. >>

I don't think this is true. In addition to coding your game, you have to code an ad server. Which could end up being a lot more complex than the game itself.

Then you have to sell ads. I don't know about you guys, but I have no idea how to find advertisers.

I can see a niche where someone could create an ad network just for android apps, but until that happens, I think the ad serving will be limited.

Is anyone serving ads in their games now? How? How well is it going?

Che
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Postby tberthel » Mon Jan 12, 2009 7:00 pm

I hate to give away such a secret, but Google is an Advertiser. Some others include AllBinary (Me), Medialets, GreyStripe, and others.

Ad servers are not really required by the app developer unless they are doing something complex.

So maybe saying "most" was a stretch but it will happen to some degree.
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Postby ErnestoGuevara » Mon Jan 12, 2009 7:04 pm

Google is indeed an advertiser, but I don't know how I would use it, off the top of my head.
I guess I could sign up for adsense and convince google that that my android app is actually a webpage (via WebView or whatever), but I image that would violate the adsense TOS or something. Not to mention being touch to pull off without destroying the look and/or continuity of my game.

Is there some obvious way to integrate an ad network into an app that I'm missing?

Che
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Postby ErnestoGuevara » Mon Jan 12, 2009 7:25 pm

... I'll look into these medialets folks and such...

Che
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Postby tberthel » Tue Jan 13, 2009 1:47 pm

You don't need to store the ads they provide if that is what you're thinking.

Here this should clear it up for you:

http://adsense.blogspot.com/2008/04/ima ... ntent.html
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Postby ErnestoGuevara » Tue Jan 13, 2009 5:00 pm

Thanks for the info, I really appreciate it.

I've just looked into the adsense-for-mobile and I'm still not sure how to apply this well in an android app - it's meant for mobile web pages (wml, xhtml, chtml), which is not what I'm creating. So it seems I'd have to take users to a web page at some point, and then show them ads there. I can certainly do that when they click on the button that opens my website ("Get More Games") but within the game itself it doesn't seem applicable.

Would you mind sharing what strategy you had in mind for deploying adsense-for-mobile? Would you regularly redirect users to a web page?

I'm going to start a new thread with an income analysis on showing ads vs. charging for an app - seems not quite on-topic enough for this thread.

Che
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Postby tberthel » Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:32 am

My game plan is to eventually use my Advert library from Freeblisket (E-Commerce Solution) I wrote years ago and integrate it into my game library.

As far as viewing the adverts I have a several fold strategy:

1. I can currently display image ads
2. Use intents to load the main browser which I already did for possible sales reasons
3. Integrate Opera Mini so future phones missing chrome or other main browser won't fail.

So image or script you can have it work in or out of your apk.

I have written a bunch of software so you may not have a 120k+ LOC E-Commerce Solution to fall back on for such needs. I already use the license server I had developed for it and other stuff. My point being what you need may not need to do anything but use an intent and exclude such complexity.
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Re: Google market policy spells doom for games?

Postby ClockworkAlchemist » Sun Feb 08, 2009 8:17 pm

mad_coder wrote:So basically, anyone can download a game, play it, potentially finish the game, then return it within 24 hours for a refund.

I could see a 2-4 hour turn-around, but not 24 hours. A user should know if an app or game is bad in the first 15 minutes of using it.

This may be bad news for game sales. How many times do you replay a game once you've beaten it? Some of you may, but I know I rarely replay an XBox or PC game I've beaten.


My guess is that most successful mobile games won't be structured like a standard Xbox or PC game. You don't really "complete" pac-man or tetris like you complete a game like Halo or Half-Life. I think when most people play a game on their phone, they'll want a quick distraction, not a really long involved game that takes a lot of time and concentration. As much as I love my G1, I can't see myself spending as much gaming on it as I would my DS.
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Postby tberthel » Sun Feb 08, 2009 11:19 pm

My guess is that most successful mobile games won't be structured like a standard Xbox or PC game. You don't really "complete" pac-man or tetris like you complete a game like Halo or Half-Life. I think when most people play a game on their phone, they'll want a quick distraction, not a really long involved game that takes a lot of time and concentration. As much as I love my G1, I can't see myself spending as much gaming on it as I would my DS.


Not yet, but it will happen. Even Nintendo is going to have a cell phone as part of their next mobile. As the games get more complex the mobile app prices will go up as they do for the PC, Console, or Handheld. IMO some games are already largely over priced. I don't expect to ever get out from under the $10 dollar range, but big players will.

MMOs and such like WOW on a cell will still be the same $20 dollar monthly fee for mass market stuff, but at the same time some will be free to play.
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Postby mad_coder » Mon Feb 09, 2009 4:48 am

"...they'll want a quick distraction..."

Yes, I am targeting that with my apps - if only for that reason. It will be sad, however, if games like RPG's don't evolve on the Android platform.

Hopefully most people will purchase games and not return them if they like them, even though they may have completed the game. The willingness of the people to do this will keep development of all types of games evolving, instead of making the gaming selection become similar to Tetris and Marble Madness. Those are good games, but I like some variety!
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