These Aren’t the Droids I’m Looking For

Tiff and I had some intense discussion about the Android market and Google’s support of it.  We were looking over various ways to use licensing features and in-app payments for a Google Play/Android version of Villagers Vs. Vampire.  Ultimately, we decided “Screw it”.  We don’t need any additional DRM in our apps.  More often than not, DRM hurts your customers, your REAL customers that truly support you, while hackers, who weren’t going to pay you anyway, end up with a superior experience.  We want our players to have the best experience possible, even if we “lose some sales” along the way.

In related news, it turns out that the Android market is actually worse than I imagined, and I was already prepared for the bevy of different devices and operating systems.  I did not know that Google still won’t take responsibility for sales taxes, and leaves the collection AND DISTRIBUTION of sales taxes solely to the developer.  So I would have to collect and distribute sales taxes to every locality of every user that bought the game, including overseas countries.  You’ve got to be kidding.  Apple and Amazon take care of this, and it provides a much more straightforward process.  I thought this was a solved issue by now, but apparently not.

I now understand why so many developers only put out free ad-supported versions, and why in-app payments haven’t taken off.  I understand even more why the Android market is not the first place developers go to when starting new projects.  I was already pessimistic going into it, but after delving further into the nuts and bolts, I’m just stunned.  Google should be able to do better than this, especially in light of the 30% cut of sales they take.

So here’s what we’re going to do.  We’re going to follow the collective wisdom of other developers and only release the ad-supported free version to Google Play.  The full versions without ads will be available on the Apple and Amazon app stores.  My sincere apologies to any of our Android fans who didn’t want to deal with ads.  I encourage you to download the Amazon Appstore App and get the full version from there.  Once Google gets their act together over their own operating system, perhaps we can do more on the platform.

Ok, end of rant!

Anyway, speaking of Amazon, our full version should be available there tomorrow.  I wish the free version was out as well, but it’s still in review unfortunately.  Both Apple versions haven’t gotten to review status yet.  We should have the web version up in the next few days or so, though.  So some bumps in the road, but forward progress is being made.

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