Threes! abruptly removed from Google Play over policy violation



If you’re looking for the hit puzzle game Threes! on the Google Play Store — you wont find it. It’s gone. Threes! developer Asher Vollmer revealed today that his game has officially been removed from the Play Store over his use of the term “2048” (another popular puzzle game based off of Threes!) in the app’s description.

Also known as keyword stuffing or spam, the practice is strictly prohibited on Google Play, something we talked about in a previous post back when Google first introduced the changes to their developer policies late last year. While it’s easy to feel little sympathy for the developer, the sudden take down of Threes! — which had amassed hundreds of thousands of downloads worldwide — seems to have occurred without warning.

If nothing else, this high profile app/game suspension once again highlights Google’s need for better developer relations. You can read more about our thoughts on that topic right here.

Download on Google Play: Threes! (no longer available)

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. “If nothing else, this high profile app/game suspension once again highlights Google’s need for better developer relations.” Wrong! This shows that google is fair and doesn’t discriminate. Don’t try and cheat the system and then complain when you get caught. Obey the rules!

    1. That’s the thing, they kinda do discriminate. There’s countless rip-offs of this game on the Play Store. Even the copycat version (2048), try searching for it and you’ll find at least 5 titles with the same name and everything. Most are just ad spam.

      1. So are they not being reported or just not getting caught by google bots? In my experience every everyone is fair game because devs can report other devs for doing stuff like that.

      2. Even if they do, it still doesn’t negate what the OP said. Don’t try and cheat the system, and then complain when you get caught.

        1. What exactly did this developer do though? Mention a ripoff of his own game?

        2. How were they cheating? They’re the original, 2048 is the copycat, and there are many copycats of the copycat on the Play Store. Threes shouldn’t have mentioned 2048 in their description, but if Google’s going to nix them for that, the copycats should go too.

          1. ‘They’re the original’

            Not on Android they weren’t. 2048 came first.

          2. Threes! for iOS came out first. 2048 then came out for Android, taking Three’s game and changing it just a tiny bit. It’s still a copycat, even if Threes took longer to come to Android. Anyone could beat Nintendo with Super Mario Bros. for Android, it’d still be a copycat, and Nintendo would sue the pants off them. The Threes developers just don’t have the money to do that.

          3. Is it against Google’s TOS to release a copycat game on Android?

          4. When you decompile an APK, make some tiny change and resubmit it as your own work, yes. Also using someone else’s copyrighted material or trademarks, yes. I don’t think that’s the case with 2048, but many of the other Threes copycats do that, as do 2048 copycats.

          5. And that’s kind of the point, isn’t it? The developer of Threes used keyword stuffing with one of their competitor’s apps, who themselves didn’t break any of the rules. So in terms of who got kicked off the store, I guess I’m not seeing a problem here.
            Sure, 2048 might be a clone, but that’s practically all most video games are these days. Flappy Bird by its very nature was just a clone of the Helicopter flash game, and if you’re not first to a new market, you should expect knock-offs to fill the void you left. That’s just the way the game is played, so to speak.

  2. Should have been taken off the Store just for having a 20 minute “trailer”. :)

  3. Its back up too. Didn’t take long to correct the situation. Seems fair to me.

  4. Fun game.

  5. What makes this sadder than it should be is that 2048 is a knock-off of Threes, and it was the knock-offs that won, apparently.

  6. Um…? I have the option to download it. It’s there. ._.

    I guess they fixed it that fast?

    EDIT: I had the option to buy it, and also it showed it was installed when I logged in.

    1. Yeah, not sure why the article update is slow in coming, I’ve put in a request a little bit ago, hopefully this will get sorted soon.

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