Last week I’ve read an article by Dominik Gotojuch from Robot Gentleman. He described the struggle with their game’s clones appearing on Google Play. The whole text is available on Gamasutra, here. If you’re a dev publishing on Google Play or App Store I sincerely recommend you read it.
In short: some clones of 60 seconds! were released on GP while the original game is not yet available for Android. Clones used some of original graphics from iOS version, charged users for downloading and then crashed at start. The problem was that Robot Gentleman tried to contact Google in order to remove clones, but reaching the company needed a lot of work and took waaaaay too much time. And to be honest, that is what surprised me the most.
OK, so since I don’t earn any money from any game published on Google Play, how this concerns me, a tester?
Well, as a professional tester I’m obliged to acknowledge the existence of Google Play Guidelines.
Google, as well as Apple and actually any other distribution platform provider, has established a set of rules that any developer wanting to publish an app has to respect. There are a lot of them, but for the purpose of this text let’s focus on the part called Core App Quality, which you can find here. Well, maybe let’s even omit the things like back button functionality or supporting landscape/portrait mode. Let’s focus on the fundamental basics: NO CRASHES!
Yes, I know, I could write about copyrights and other more complex stuff, but that’s not the point of the article. I really need to write about those crashes!
Because if the app crashes at launch it’s worth nothing. You don’t need the guidelines to know that. You don’t need to be a developer to know that.
But as a tester I’ve spent countless hours testing the rest of those guidelines to make sure the game I was working on won’t be rejected. I’ve created numerous checklists basing on those guidelines. And all those double checks just before sending the build to Google…
Now I have another proof that it was actually worth nothing, as Google lets clone apps that crash at start earn money via their platform. And then if you spot such game it takes ages to contact Google and prove the ‘game’ should not be there.
So tell me, Google, why should we even bother by the rules you made but do not take any effort to follow them yourself? Checking if the application won’t crash at start takes as much time as to download it and tap the damn icon! Of course, my QA-concience would not let me pass a crashing application, but what about those developers who don’t care about quality assurance? Can they publish a buggy, crashing app on Google Play? Well, apparently that’s not a problem…
Yes, I know that it’s nothing new, such situations happened before and on other platforms too, but I just took this opportunity to, again. whine about not treating game testing seriously. Help testers by reporting shitty-quality apps!
Oh, and by the way, Robots are still fighting the system and 60 seconds! is still not available on Android, so don’t download the clones. Instead, follow them on Facebook or Twitter to be up to date with Android launch or just play the game on Steam or iOS.