One of the great things about Android is that application vendors can distribute their apps outside of the Android market. This is great for people who can’t purchase items directly from the market (due to their device or country), but it seems that the grass isn’t as green on some acres as they are on others.
One of our frequent tipsters – Dave Loft (a fitting name for the story he submitted) – contacted GameLoft in regards to their DRM policies after they’d finally launched their newest selection of Android games. The result was a very tight-run policy that would be enough to scare anybody away.
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.
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If for any reason your phone gets lost or stolen, if you need to buy a new phone or get your data wiped (due to updates to the firmware), or anything that would compromise the ongoing state of your Android installation, you simply cannot reinstall that game without purchasing it again.
We’re not sure if this is just in regards to games bought on their own online store or if it includes games bought from the market, as well. We’ve contacted Dave to see if he can clear that up for us, but I truly believe GameLoft is taking a turn in the wrong direction with this move. It was great that they decided not to leave Android, but these kinds of policies are the sort of thing that will hurt their business in the long run.
If you’re ok with their DRM policies, then buy away – just make sure you keep that same phone for the rest of your life if you don’t want to pay for the same item over and over.