May 25 AT 1:10 PM Taylor Wimberly 56 Comments

Round 2: Gameloft’s Android store still leaves sour taste

Remember those 10 awesome 3D games that Gameloft released last week? Several did not work or failed to download, but Gameloft informed us the titles were accidentally published early and would be fixed over the weekend.

Gameloft just relaunched their Android store, so I thought I would try purchasing a couple titles to try on my EVO 4G and see how they compare with a Nexus One running Android 2.2.

For starters, I noticed the games were more expensive in Gameloft’s official store. Asphalt 5 sells for $4.99 on the Android Market, but Gameloft ups all their new titles to $6.99 on their site. That is on the higher end for Android games, but Gameloft has the best 3D graphics on Android and I thought the price was justified.

Right now, Gameloft only lets you purchase the titles if you claim to have a Motorola Droid. All these games work on other Snapdragon phones with at least Android 2.1, so I’m not sure why Gameloft has limited them to the Droid. When making a new purchase, customers will have to register an account with Gameloft and fill out their payment information. After a user purchases a game, Gameloft sends a text message to your phone number with a link to download the title.

My first purchase was the new 3D Assassin’s Creed. After filling out all my information, I waited and waited for a text message with the download link, but it never came. I searched the Gameloft site for several minutes and found no option to resend the message so I was forced to request a refund. This was done by filling out a form which required I dig up my unique customer ID and order number from an email. As of the time of this writing, I’m still waiting on my refund.

Before giving up, I decided to try purchasing a second title. This time I opted for N.O.V.A., the Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance. To my surprise, I received the download link almost instantly and easily installed the game on my EVO 4G. The game looked great for a first person shooter, but it was sluggish in some areas on my EVO.

I’ve noticed a big performance boost with Android 2.2, so I attempted to install N.O.V.A. on my Nexus One. Unfortunately, Gameloft limits you to one download of the game installer. No problem I thought, I’ll just copy the install file over manually. This also failed because Gameloft has implemented a copy protection check to limit purchases to a single device.

I know it’s Gameloft’s right to distribute their software however they choose, but I was disappointed by the single device limit. This is the opposite of the Android Market which allows you to re-download and install any purchase that is linked to your Google account.

Right now, it is hard for me to suggest that anyone use the Gameloft store. I was told during Google I/O that these titles would eventually make their way to the Android Market, but Gameloft wanted to experiment with different distribution channels first.

We appreciate that Gameloft is trying new distribution methods (especially for those who can’t access the Android Market in other countries), but I think it really hurts them right now to avoid the official Market. Hopefully Gameloft will listen to their customers’ feedback (Hi guys!) and get on the ball with bringing these exciting titles to the real Android Market.

Have you tried purchasing an Android game from Gameloft? If so, please let us know how their store performed for you.

Source: Gameloft

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • http://Website Sergio

    What did you expected? Flawless game experience on the poor GPU from qualcomm SoC?
    They work find on Motorola Milestone, not to mention the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S.

    + the multi touch bug found on the majority of htc phones makes the game hard to control.

    People should now that Snapdragon is just a… hype. The history shows us clearly that qualcomm was and is behind the competition, HTC is using them just because it’s more convenient for them.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      Newer HTC phones like the Incredible and EVO use the new Atmel maXTouch sensors. They perform tons better vs the older Synaptics Clearpad sensor found in the Nexus One.

      Also, I believe it has been proven over and over that the Snapdragon graphics are more powerful than the PowerVR found in the Droid. The Droid sees performance increases in some games, but that is because they were optimized for PowerVR instructions when they were coded for the iPhone.

      • http://Website Sergio

        Real life examples?
        Real life examples (games) shows that PowerVR is doing better.

        How the games are optimized for PowerVR? That’s what I’m not understanding, games are using OpenGL, which is implemented in both GPUs (Adreno & PowerVR)..

        • Mike Leahy

          Taylor is not 100% correct.. The PowerVR GPU in the Droid is significantly better than the initial Snapdragon GPU pairing.

          While perhaps not scientific, but I have a Quake 3 class engine written in Java using OpenGL and I can get a steady 15-30 FPS in areas with lots of curved surfaces on the Droid and this will blow chunks (1-4 FPS) on the N1 / Snapdragon processor. Absolutely nothing is tuned specifically for the PowerVR. I also understand the PowerVR GPU supports more lights (3 I believe; just 1 with Snapdragon) which is a huge advantage for any dynamic lighting uses.

          Slower CPU / Better GPU

          N1 / Initial Snapdragon pairing
          Faster CPU / Slower less capable GPU

          The specific extensions on the PowerVR are useful for accessing texture compression so that textures data size can be smaller. There are no custom coded rendering engine related extensions for the PowerVR. IE there is no extension just for the PowerVR that makes it faster etc.

          My general understanding is that Qualcomm used an older AMD based GPU (Qualcomm bought AMD’s mobile GPU division last year or some such) for the initial Snapdragon revs. Hopefully it’ll be different later this year and into next.

          • Taylor Wimberly

            Thanks for the details.

          • http://Website Me

            Yep and just wait until the newer OMAP comes out in the Droid 2 and the Shadow, this will put the end to the Snapdragon hype for sure.

  • Neil Lund

    I’ve tried getting some games from them and I also had no success. I feel they are making a mistake using this distribution method. If they are so concerned about protecting their apps, then they should implement the usual protection method that everyone else does. Or opt to provide a product key via email or text that would unlock the paid version.

  • http://Website Dave Goldstick

    You must claim to have a Droid because Gameloft’s games are optimized for the chipset that powers both it and the iPhone. Droid and iPhone chipsets are very similar:

    Although Snapdragon is more powerful, Gameloft’s games may take a performance hit on it.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      I found that Gameloft titles like Asphalt 5 actually run better on the Nexus One with Android 2.2.

      • http://Website Sergio

        For example Gangsta runs smoother on Motorola Milestone (Android 2.1) vs Snapdragon-enabled devices (Android 2.2). Don’t forget that JIT helps in java execution, not in low level things (that are written in NDK which)

        Gangstar on Nexus One Android 2.1

        Gangstar on Nexus One Android 2.2

        Gangstar on Motorola Milestone 2.1

    • http://Website Sergio

      False. Why are you guys always say if *something* is not working good on *this* and works better on *that* -> than it’s optimized for *that*?

      Ok, by you all the games available which runs better on the Milestone is because they are optimized for PowerVR .. That’s false man. See also ToonWarz from Polarbit how badly it runs on qualcomm solutions.

      It’s just because the GPU (Adrena 200) from Qualcomm SoC is poor in comparison with the one from TI OMAP…
      They both support OpenGL 1.x, 2. Games are using OpenGL which is a standard.
      So you cannot say that a game is optimized for PowerVR, it’s all about the true power of the PowerVR

      • Taylor Wimberly

        ToonWarz was the first game I tested after I installed Android 2.2 on my Nexus One. It might be an unfair comparison, but it was the smoothest performance I have seen in that game so far. The only problem now is the lacking touch sensors used in the Nexus One. My perfect gaming device for Android would be the EVO 4G once it’s upgraded to Android 2.2.

  • http://Website John Perkins

    “After a user purchases a game, Gameloft sends a text message to your phone number with a link to download the title.”

    That right there will keep me from ever buying a game from their storefront. I have text messaging turned off on my account, so I couldn’t use their store even if I wanted to.

  • http://Website Fabio Rodriguez

    I can’t blame them trying another distribution channel. One of my main concerns with the Android store is piracy and all they could tell us at Google I/O was “we’re working on it”.

    Well, people want to play these games immediately and don’t want to wait for Google to finish “working on it.”

    On the other hand, Gameloft is screwing this up. They should at least allow users to download a purchased game to multiple devices.

  • tenkely

    I’m not buying anything from Gameloft if it’s not available for purchase in from the Android Market.

  • Canterrain

    This really has me wondering what happens if your phone has to be wiped, or if you have to replace it (even with the same phone). Do you lose your money?

    I’m sure the games look great (not that I can give it a try on my hero), but at some protection of assets and convenience of customer must maintain a precarious balance. Currently this sounds far too tipped to one side of the equation.

    • daveloft

      I don’t see there be an issue. Just transfer the apk file to your new device and install it.

      • http://Website Tes

        Did you bother to read the article you’re commenting on where they tried exactly that and failed?

  • Segal

    Bought some games from them as well.

    Games were cheaper through website for me – I’ve paid 3 USD for Hero of Sparta and for Dungeon Hunter.

    At first had some trouble with Nexus One, only got game working after talking to support. That might be the reason they’ve stopped selling games for other devices.

    Also noticed huge boost after installing 2.2 :)

  • http://Website Spencer

    I would have bought them all if they were on the standard android market, but there’s no way I’m going to trust a purchase from their site…Why don’t they just publish on the android market and forget about making their own site????

    • http://Website jon

      They want to be able to avoid people leaving reviews about how the quality or performance is bad, which hurts sales.

  • http://Website Sined

    Using their own distribution channel has proved worthless. You can already find all these title cracked and on the internet.

  • adrianx

    why are not created a version of STEAM for android?

    • http://Website reddragon72

      Actually you might be surprised next year. Steam is coming to Linux and you can bet that a port to Android will be announced next year, or at least mentioned.

  • http://Website jon

    Hey Gameloft, you suck.

    The way you’re treating Android is a joke. There are tons of Droids out there, and money to be made. Instead you think it’s a bright idea to hide your games on your website and make it a 10 step process to obtain instead of putting it where they belong…in the market.

    At the same time, the quality is horrible and you’re doing rush jobs. No other game on Android puts the games music database into the Android Music Player. Even after the update, Asphalt does! Do you know how much fun it is to have random cheesy Asphalt songs and sound effects play during your shuffle playlist? Turns out, it’s not fun at all. It’s annoying.

    The huge downgrade for Asphalt graphics was another slap in the face. The graphics performed fine on the Droid before. Now we have low res, basic, texture-less boring graphics.

    Just give up. Android users don’t want you if this is how you’re going to treat us. You figure you can have a couple people work on Android and shove it out there on your website for a quick profit so that users can’t leave reviews complaining about your quality, and that you can control the refund policy instead of people being able to effortlessly return your rushed games.

    Except we’re smarter than that.

  • http://Website pasmith

    Thanks for this post; I surely won’t be buying anything from the Gameloft store based on your experience.

    So what happens if your phone dies and you get a replacement? You’ve lost all your Gameloft titles? Screw that. I’ll risk that in a $1-$2 game but when you’re talking about $6-$7 titles, I don’t want to have to re-purchase those.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      Exactly. I could be missing something, but I see no way to re-download your purchases after the initial install. This is a major problem for those who wipe their phone or switch devices.

      • daveloft

        The APK file is stored on your SD card and can easily be transferred to your PC for safe keeping. No need to cry fowl. But just in case you do have trouble they will help you out if do happen to loose your install files.

        • http://Website Silan

          “No problem I thought, I’ll just copy the install file over manually. This also failed because Gameloft has implemented a copy protection check to limit purchases to a single device.”

          Read the article before storming to comments for gods sake.

  • E-man

    So does this game remind anyone of Halo?

    • http://Website DgDeBx

      I was thinking the same thing, it looks like a ripoff of Halo.

  • Mr Brainz

    I took one look at that store and decided straight away to steer clear. It was hell just getting in to view the homepage. I mean you had to turn off your WiFi? It’s crazy the lengths they’ve gone to.

    I’d normally be happy to pay the money but this store makes me want to pirate the content!

  • http://Website Derek

    As to why they are “only” for a Moto Droid; doesnt the Droid have a better 3D GPU than what comes with the Snapdragon CPU package?

    I seem to recall reading that somewhere. The Droid has the PowerVR SGX535 doesnt it? The same one thats in the iphone 3GS, what’s in the Google N1?

  • http://Website Cheetah

    I just bought “Assassins Creed” from their store. Paid by credit card. I did not have to fake my Model, “HTC / Google Nexus One” was one of the officially available options. Received the Download Text Message within 5 seconds after hitting “SEND”.

    The initial level data download took quite a while to finish, but so far the game has been running very smoothly. Multi-Touch Controls work nicely on the N1, great native resolution 3D graphics with a pretty good frame rate. I really can’t complain. The purchase was flawless, and the game has been worth every cent so far, if not the best title I’ve played so far.

    Your mileage may vary. Maybe I’m just lucky :)

    (Reporting from Germany with a Nexus One running FroYo)

  • daveloft

    I forwarded the news of this service being back up yesterday, I thought Android and Me wasn’t going to post anything about it, but here it is.

    When they first launched a week ago, I couldn’t select my device on the list once I selected my country and carrier. But now it works and it was quick and easy.

    The two FPS are not available for the Nexus One at the moment, but they say its coming. Gameloft is quick to answer questions.

    Accelerometer control for HAWX and Gangster is terrible. HAWX has the worst framerate of all the games I tried.

    Even though the price says $6.99, I bought all 8 available games for $3 Canadian each.

    One thing that might interest people. The version of Asphalt that Gameloft is selling on their own site is newer than the one in the market. The market just got updated to 3.0.9 while from their own strore I got 3.1.0. It also runs much nicer on my Nexus One and is actually very playable.

    They have a great set of games here but they need a bit of work with Asphalt 5 being the furthest along in that sense.

    I hate the fact that they are not on the market. But I wanted to support them anyways. This is by far the biggest and best lineup of games any publisher has made available for Android. If you want more of these games to hit Android. I think you need to support them too.

  • ExtremeT

    The line-up of games is great but the execution, especially with the storefront has been nothing short of terrible. Even though I’m well aware of being able to backup my purchases on my computer and how to do it like most people here are, I still think that the lack of Android market deployment doesn’t make me want to rush out and buy these although I sort of don’t have much of a choice either lol

  • hermyhalloween

    I fear the fate of Android gaming. At first I had high hopes of quality gaming but it has greatly been jaded since learning more about the Android platform. Google’s main claim is that they don’t have many (any?) requirements for handsets and are therefore an open platform. I think until they develop a minimum set of hardware requirements (i.e., respectable graphics chip) we won’t see easily available high quality games, at least not in 3D.

    Am I incorrect in my knowledge of Google?

  • http://Website ronabong

    Try before you buy for all of their games would be nice. Still their delivery method = FAILED.

  • mrben

    I bought Real Football 2010 last weekend from their store, and didn’t have to lie about the handset (HTC Desire). Text message arrived no problems (and there was an email too, IIRC). The game itself runs fine – a bit of slowdown in a couple of places, but the main problem is the control system, which is just too flaky.

    I’ll probably be buying Asphalt at some point, but I’ll do it from Android Market this time.

    Oh, and the wapshop that you get punted to if you go to their website on your phone is awful – finally selected my country only to find that my service provider was not listed. Fail.

    • DJ Agent M

      I bought Real Football and had the same problems. Shooting and passing is in consistent. It works sometimes and then doesnt work.

      I emailed Gameloft for support and they directed me to their forum. I’m still waiting for some sort of reply. My question is if a Game has a bug and needs an update, how would they contact customers?? Marketplace is much easier for that process.

      Gameloft arent doing themselves any favours.

  • http://Website Trav

    All I know is, when I buy something, I want to own it. I’ve dealt with poor DRM issues with the Zune Marketplace, and this sounds even more of a nightmare. Would you buy a game from a store if they told you, you were limited to one install only before having to purchase another? I’m a gadget geek and upgrade my phone every chance I get. I don’t want to feel like I’m throwing my money away when I upgrade to a better handset, or have to get a replacement….accidents do happen. My Moto Droid will never have any software from GameLoft…ever. DRM denied.

  • daveloft

    I was totally wrong, I’m sorry everyone.


    Its so much worse than I thought. Not only can you not take your game to another phone. If you uninstall the game to save space. You can’t reinstall the game at a later date even on the same handset. It will tell you your copy is illigitimate and that you should buy it again.


    • sandmanssicjoke

      And it sounds like Trav and you are correct for ex-naying Gameloft. I’m steering clear of them as well.

  • http://Website joe

    Be careful buying their games from their website.

    Gameloft has confirmed that if you buy games from their site you can only download it once. that means if you have to wipe your phone (for an update) or delete a game to free up some space for a bit, your game is gone forever and you have to buy it for $6.99.

    You can’t even back up the apk apparently, they are designed to only install once.

    Not only will you be paying a higher price getting it from their website, but their DRM policies are the exact opposite of what Android users expect with the market place.

  • http://Website worldbfreem4me

    Damn, this is disappointing guys. In about 9 days, I expect to take delivery of my new EVO 4G via the Shack who will give me a $120 stipend in trade for my trusty, but smallish Palm Pre. Game loft is credited with giving the Pre, i Phone gaming abilities. All these games mentioned above run as smooth as silk on my Pre. I will be sorely irked if Asphault5 dares to stutter on my EVO 4G…

  • http://Website Ricky

    All the games are avaiable in india for a bargain at $3

    • daveloft

      They were advertised at $6.99 but I could buy them for $3 as well. But now they are advertised as $5 and that is the actual price you will find when you go through checkout.

  • DJ Agent M

    Just found this on the Gameloft FAQ not tried it yet. Will see what happens

    “I deleted my game, can I download it again?

    Gameloft’s policy is that if you buy a game, you can re-download it on the same device with the same phone number within the 90 days of your purchase. To re-download your game, go to on your mobile and click on the ‘My Downloads’ link at the bottom of the page. You will see the list of all the games you purchased so far that you can re-download. If you purchased your game on our website on your pc using your credit card, enter the ‘My Account’ section at the top of this page and re-download your game(s) after signing in. Keep in mind you will be charged for any data fees your carrier may charge for downloading your games.”

  • daveloft

    When I go to their site on my Nexus One it says “Sorry, but there are no available games for your mobile.”

    As far as re downloading from their web site, maybe anyone purchasing from this point forward can do it. But when I log into my account I don’t see a list of the games I’ve bought nor do I see any way to re-download.

    When you download them to your phone they will be kept on the SD card. Just use a file explorer to find them. If you try to reinstall them it will tell you its not original. But I found a way around this, hit the link to read how.

  • grellanl

    I want to buy a bunch of these – Let’s Golf for example – but I’m not gonna, until they appear on the Android Market.

    Never mind the GPU, what’s in the Snapdragon and the Droid/Milestone is good enough in both cases, to see decent games run on the systems. Now it’s time for them to be released, and for us to *buy them* (there won’t be any more if we don’t, and TBH it’s obvious that Gameloft are doing this crazy download scheme for two reasons – piracy and control).

    The *big* limiting factor has really been app storage space, up until now. And it’s a revelation to have the ability to install all my apps to SD on Froyo – this is the finally the Android device I wanted! Before, I was doing the out-of-space-shuffle constantly, having to decide which dozen apps I could afford to keep. Which meant that luxuries (like the games I’d bought) had to be uninstalled.

    So, yeah – long story short: Gameloft, please just buy into the Android Market concept, and give us the ability to buy and re-download as with any normal app. The demand is there, and you haven’t cut off the pirates by going this route – you’ve encouraged them if anything. Let the people who actually want to *buy* your stuff, do so.

  • http://Website mark

    Purchased lets golf, installed and played, went to website to see if i could re-download and it was there. Formatted card and phone went to website checked my downloads and its gone, used 3g to purchase and check using same sim card

  • http://Website mk

    asphalt 5

    all work great on samsung galaxy s running android 2.1
    although would be nice to see psp emulator, gta on android would be cool ;)

  • http://Website Zonko

    With a purchase/install process like that, it’s much faster and easier to pirate. That’s not what you want to encourage as a game company.

    But the biggest screwup for me is how Assassin’s Creed manages the game audio files:

    They’re all free-floating in one of the sdcard directories, so as Jon said above, over a THOUSAND tiny audio files get indexed along with your regular MP3s, essentially ruining the ‘Shuffle’ function of the built-in audio player.

    Really? Did you guys miss something like that?


  • http://Website Hangman

    Have a samsung galaxy s
    Dungeon hunter hd worked fine first time, and is really very good. however nova requires a secondary download, and is failing to find wifi, even though the original download from gameloft was of course over wifi…

  • patrick wyngaard

    my real football 2013 game freeze on my blackberry Z3 afta I get the option to hire a trainer pls fix this