May 27 AT 4:27 PM Taylor Wimberly 36 Comments

Round 3: Pros and Cons of Gameloft’s Android store

Our last Gameloft article generated quite a bit of buzz across the Android blogs, so I thought an update was needed on some recent happenings.

First let’s start with the good. Gameloft has the best 3D games that Android has to offer. You can see of couple of their titles in my Sprint EVO games preview or head over to the Gameloft Android store to view even more videos. Gameloft currently offers 10 “HD+” titles which is the most impressive lineup I have seen from any Android developer.

I would also like to say that Gameloft’s customer support is good. I had issues with downloading one of my purchases and they were able to help me resolve the problem in a timely manner.

So Gameloft’s games are awesome, but what about the bad? For starters, the majority of their new games (9 of 10) are not available in the Android Market. This means customers must purchase the titles from the Gameloft store, which could be an issue for some.

The main problem stems from Gameloft’s DRM policy. One of our readers contacted Gameloft customer care to check their official policy when it came to refunds and re-downloading previous purchases. What he found was similar to what I reported on my own experiences.

When a customer purchases a game from Gameloft, that entitles them to one download of the game to one phone number and one phone model only. If a user switches phones, removes the game, or performs a firmware upgrade that requires a wipe, then they will have to buy the game again. Considering Gameloft’s titles are priced on the high-side of Android games ($6.99), it is disappointing that this only gets users a single download.

Gameloft chose to use their own store to experiment with new distribution methods for Android, but there is still the chance some of these games could find their way to the Android Market. Their only HD+ title in the Market , Asphalt 5, has sold over 5,000 copies and I believe future games will perform even better based off the number of new Snapdragon phones now available.

Is Gameloft’s refund policy enough to prevent you from making a purchase or could you care less? If these games were on the Android Market, would that increase your chances of buying one?

“About the handset, our policy is: according to our refund policy, once the game is successfully installed, we cannot resend it for any reason, unless you buy it again. One purchase entitles you to one download of the game to one phone number and on one phone model only. If you delete or otherwise remove the game from your phone, or change your handset, you will have to buy it again.”Roman GarmashGameloft customer care

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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  • bluemarc22

    most def i would buy them on the android market

  • ExtremeT

    I understand wanting to protect yourself and your product as every company should but this sort of policy is ridiculous as there are numerous reasons why you would need to download the game again such as replacing/upgrading a phone or your phone getting a wipe from an official Android update.

    For such a great list of games it has to be one of the worst launches I’ve seen in a long time. It really does not make me want to buy anything from them.

    • Dharmabhum

      Yea, it makes it tough to pick up a game from them if they keep this policy. All other apps (granted, from the Android Market) all are attached to your Google account so any wipe, reinstall, phone upgrade or whatever allows you to keep your apps and games that you’ve purchased. It doesn’t matter how awesome Gameloft games are: if they don’t match the flexibility of the rest of the Android ecosystem, I won’t buy and I suspect many others are of the same mindset.

    • SpykeZ

      This is how verizon used to make most of their money by not allowing the transfer games/software and having to buy again

  • http://Website mueri

    “About gameloft, my policy will be: never by until they change their policy”
    It’s non sense to find people to aknowledge their policy and to buy their products. Maybe it’s suitable for iphone users who are used to be restricted in many ways, but for Android users it inacceptable.

  • http://Website Gryffyn

    I haven’t gotten my Android phone yet so haven’t had a chance to look into it myself, but while this sounds unreasonable, it may be more reasonable if that one download gave you an installable binary and a serial number or something.

    It would be nice if they just remembered you had bought something and had a decent way of preventing abuse from re-downloading, but if all it takes is copying a binary off my phone and putting it back on and reinstalling after the phone is wiped, then that’s not such a big deal anymore.

    Can anyone tell me if Gameloft works like this or is what you download totally off-limits and there’s no way to back it up and reinstall later? Sounds like their DRM ties it to “one phone number, one model” but that doesn’t mean you can’t reinstall.

    I’ll have to check out their site later and see if it says anywhere on there.. in the meantime, I was wondering if anyone reading this knew.

    • http://Website Gryffyn

      Just got around to reading the ’round 2′ post and the comments. Someone did mention that you can’t reinstall even on the same device. Most of the other comments just point to the article where it’s mentioned transferring the install file from the original EVO 4G to a Nexus One.. which wouldn’t seem to work per Gameloft’s policies and probably DRM locking the install to a single phone #/device. But I’m still surprised and skeptical that you CAN’T reinstall it to the same device.

      • http://Website Steven

        I’ve had to reinstall my NOVA and Asphalt 5 games (which I got directly through gameloft) several times. As long as you back up the install file, it seems to reinstall just fine. Of course, you may want to also keep the game data on the sd card safe too. I don’t know if the DRM might be in there.

  • http://Website Cromag

    There’s at least one game I would absolutely buy it it were on the market, and two others that I would seriously consider buying. They’re missing out on a lot of sales treating their distribution like this.

  • http://Website raven-

    this is ridiculous, their policy makes no sense, if you buy these same games on the itunes app store you can port them to any device you own under that account, why not allow it under android? especially at a higher price than they charge in the app store, this delivery method is doomed to fail, they aren’t protecting anything by doing this all they are doing is upsetting the customer, i would gladly buy atleast 3 of their 10 titles of they were on the android market. their tactic for “protecting” their products seems more like a tactic to get users to buy the same thing over and over, i believe they are just too dumb to realize that people dont want to be taken advantage of anymore, especially the average android user which is why alot of us switched to an open platform.

  • daveloft

    I have found a way to get past the one install limit. Hit the link to find out how.

    • geniusdog254

      Excellent point. Works great, thanks!

  • http://Website Nick

    Wait.. “one phone number and one phone model”? Going by that wording, they should already be allowing you to re-download after a delete, wipe, or lost/stolen phone, as long as the phone number and model haven’t changed.

    Not interested.

  • Christopher Chavez

    Considering these games can graphically compete with PSP or DS games and their size is somewhere around an “arcade” title from their respective online stores which sell for around 10 – 15 dollars…. its a pretty good deal.
    Only thing keeping me from a purchase now is their return policy and not having them available in the Android Market.

    • http://Website MooQ

      Cristopher, you should get yourself some glasses.
      I own every major gaming console (PSP and DS of course to) and the games are miles away from a good PSP/DS title in almost every criteria from graphics to lasting appeal. In fact they seem like poorly made very cheap rip-offs from their originals. Like some chinese game developers are trying to copy GTA, God of War or Halo while failing epicly in the process.
      Their are lightyears of quality between a Gangstar: East Coast Hustle and GTA: Liberty City Stories on the PSP. While I tried this game I just asked myself: why sholud I continue this piece of *beep* when I can play the original?

      As a PSP owner I can say, that these Gameloft games are way to much overhyped.

      • http://Website MooQ

        Argh I mean “They are” instead of “Their are”

        • http://Website MooQ

          There are…

          Excuse me… I´m going to whack my head against a wall for some time.

  • http://Website Kevin

    I was excited when I heard Gameloft was releasing a ton of iPhone ports for Android, but disappointed when I learned they’re only selling them through their own store. There are two or three titles I’ll definitely buy if they ever get released on the Market, but I have no desire to put up with asinine DRM.

  • http://Website MajesticFlame

    I am interested in several of the games but I won’t be buying any unless they get put on the Android market. I have bought a decent amount of apps and games on the market mostly because I know they are tied to my account and not my phone or even carrier. When it comes time for a fresh install or new phone it’s nice to know my apps will be waiting for me.

  • http://Website tozlink

    I don’t know what the hell they’re trying to pull. They don’t pull this crap on the iPhone App Store, I don’t see why they’re trying it on the Android Market. Until they put their games on the Market proper, I’m not the least bit interested.

    • iliyan

      It’s not a secret that it usually takes fewer clicks to “buy” a piece of software than to buy it. And GameLoft are only encouraging people to go the easy way with this policy.

      And I totally agree about the GameLoft game quality – much too overrated. PSP games are much better.

  • http://Website nexxus

    How is this round 3?… Its all the same points you made in round 1 and 2. Here’s one:
    Round 4: This just in, Gameloft is experiencing record amounts of piracy cause they freakin suck

    • daveloft

      I had to remove some of the games due to space issue, as every Android user would understand. When I went to reinstall the game I discovered you can’t reinstall the game on the same device even if you saved the apk file. When you launch the game, it will say its not original and close.

      No one had mentioned it. They only said you couldn’t download it again and you couldn’t take it to another device.

      Thats were round 3 came in, its the third time Gameloft’s store has been brought back for discussion.

  • hermyhalloween

    haha. I see such a policy as an absolute offense to customer service and would consider buying one of their games. Even if it was the minimum $.99. Now I know to ignore Gameloft.

  • stalker

    It would be better if they put games on android market. :)

  • http://Website Silicor

    As a soon to be Evo owner, they can keep their predatory model and shove it. I’m not against developers protecting themselves, but I’m not buying a 1 time license. This sounds more like a scheme than a protection model. Great way to build a reputation on the number 2 platform gameloft. You could own the platform, instead you want to milk it. I hope no-one buys your games!!!!!!!

  • http://Website darwin

    really wan’t to play these games but only if its on the market

  • http://Website Flo

    I hope you don’t get legal trouble if I post my workaround here:

    To get a full backup of your game simply enter the link you receive by SMS in a PC’s Webbrowser. It will just download the .apk file to your computer. You can copy it to your SD then and install it there. The Game content will anyway be downloaded on the first start and don’t do it over 3G there some Games are over 100MB large and it really takes ages on a weak connection.

    Hope that helps at least the guys who are planning to buy, sorry I have no workaround for those who already bought a game.

  • http://Website mark

    Just put phone in off line mode before you install App. Then when you launch it it will ask you to put wifi on which it does in app and all will be fine

  • http://Website kc

    I really want gangstar, assassin’s creed, and modern combat sandstorm. When I first saw the pictures from them I was more excited than I know how to explain. I have no problem buying them from somewhere other than the android market, in fact I like that they have their own store because I think it adds some variety and allows for some competition which may lead to better games for both markets. For these reasons I would buy these games games tonight, but I wont. The sole reason for this is that their market lacks the ability to re-download games you have already purchased. I have used many stores to purchase downloadable content including itunes, steam, playstation network, and the android market. All of these places allow you to re-download purchased software, in fact I have never heard of a dlc market that only allows a single download. I will not purchase these games unless they change this, if they don’t it’s more money in my pocket and if they do… well, I’ll be waiting.

  • http://Website Mom2Ninjas

    Couldn’t you just reinstall the apk file on the SD card?

    • http://Website Mom2Ninjas

      After reading the comments I see that apparently you can not just reinstall your apk file. Absolutely ridiculous! I need to hard reset my Evo right now do to a program that caused it fits, but if I do I lose my nova game on the same phone!

      Funny how apple and palm can download their copies. :(

      No more gameloft for me.

  • http://Website Steven

    I’ve noticed that you can reinstall now if you are using the same SD card and phone. Mine worked fine. It may help to keep your game data folders backed up. The DRM might be in there. Anyways, they seem to have changed their policy, because if you download a game through their site, not through your phone though, they’ll let you redownload it for free for up to 90 days. Has to be same number/phone model. Hope that helps. I’ve reinstalled several games now with no issue, but my SD card has always kept all the original files, so that may be the difference too.

  • http://Website DJ

    I would buy many, maybe all of their games on the market right now if I could and the policy was the same as every other piece of software from the market.

    As a customer I don’t want to have to think too much about what happens down the line if I need to change my phone or upgrade to a new version of android and I certainly don’t want to pay twice for the same game!!! That’s what I like about the market and why I happily spend money on there.

    I hope somebody from Gameloft is monitoring all these comments on so many blogs at the moment. They’re basically giving potential customers the finger, and they’re hungry customers at that!! Madness.

  • http://Website Johan

    I wanna have nova so bad on my captivate… why cant they just put the gsmes on the market at ahigher price?

  • http://Website Mike

    The DRM policy is an issue for me. I would much rather they have a Steam-like service where once you’ve made a purchase, you can download them across any and all Android platforms that may be tied to your Google account. I wouldn’t mind a service that requires you to remain logged into your Google account for authentication, but the inability to redownload in the event of switching carriers, phone numbers, another device, or simply running out of time to redownload is completely unacceptable to me.

    The sad part is, I’ve played N.O.V.A. on my friend’s iPhone. It’s an excellent title. Props to Ubisoft/Gameloft programmers for getting a game like that on a mobile platform. But their marketing guys need a real wake-up call.