Gameloft has already ported several of their Android titles to the Tegra 2 platform, but customers with a Motorola Atrix 4G are unable to purchase them because AT&T blocks the installation of non-Market applications. The only way to get Gameloft’s new games is through their online web store, so none of AT&T’s Android phones can access them.
We were keeping an eye on Gameloft’s mobile site to see if they would come up with a workaround and today we noticed a new survey for Atrix 4G users. The poll says, “AT&T has blocked their Android devices from allowing 3rd party downloads for security purposes. If this policy were changed would you download HD games from Gameloft to your mobile?”.
AT&T is unlikely to change their policy because they are trying to protect their users from installing potential malicious apps from unknown sources. Earlier this year the policy was defended and I somewhat agree with them. “AT&T selected Android Market as the exclusive source for applications because it forces developers to be accountable for the apps they submit. If the Android community has issues with an app, the app can be flagged and removed.”
A quick Google search provides easy instructions for installing non-Market apps on AT&T devices (without the need to hack them), so I see it as a non-issue for most Android users.
Gameloft’s problem with the official Android Market is the lack of support for targeting specific devices. The Android Market only allows developers to upload one installable file per application, but Gameloft has versions of their games for each graphics platform (PowerVR, Adreno, GeForce) and wants to provide an optimized install file for each device.
Other developers have been able to support multiple types of devices with a single installable file, so I’m not sure why Gameloft hasn’t been able to figure this out. It doesn’t appear that Google has any plans to change their policy, so I don’t expect new Gameloft games to appear on the Android Market anytime soon.
What do you think Gameloft should do? If AT&T changed their policy to allow non-Market apps, would you download HD games from Gameloft to your mobile? Or would you only purchase games from the Android Market?