Long time app/game publisher, Glu Mobile, has been with Android almost since the G1 days. Since then, they’ve become an almost household name in the Android Market, having many of their games grace the front page of the Google Play store on more than one occasion.
Like most companies as of late, they’ve since moved away from the tried-and-true business model of charging a fixed price upfront for their titles, instead opting for the new “freemium” business model of charging later. The way freemium games work is they’re offered free of charge, but often times, the game can only be completed using in-game items that have to be purchased from inside the app.
Lately, Glu Mobile has come under fire from unhappy customers — one of which uploaded a video to YouTube today voicing his issue — who are accusing the publisher of wrongdoing after purchasing in-game items or “Glu Credits,” only to have never received them. After some sleuthing around, you can find that this is a pretty common complaint in regards to Glue Mobile and something I experienced firsthand after attempting a purchase for myself. What’s strange is my transaction for in-game currency completed just fine but when I attempted to buy some Glu Credits, there was an error. No credits received. My card was still charged (with no chance of a refund). Pretty lame.
Some users in the Market have even complained of a conspiracy regarding Glu’s titles self-uninstalling, causing them to lose all their credits/token purchased with their actual hard earned money and no chance of refund. Checking up on Glu Mobile’s FAQs and you’ll find that they ask Android users to sign-in with their Facebook account when available if they want their game saves and progress to be carried over when upgrading to a new device or in the event of a reinstall. Only problem is this is only available on 7 of their 56 games.
Now, I wouldn’t go as far as accusing Glu Mobile of foul play. Glu Credits don’t exactly cost the company anything and it’s “good business 101” that you would actually want to keep customers coming back. But something is definitely broken on Glu’s end and it needs to be fixed. STAT.
I’m all for supporting app developers/publishers, doing my part to help the Android Market ecosystem. I have no problem spending my money for great games and occasionally, yes, even in-game items. But, if developers are eager to start accepting my cash, they better make damn sure they have all their bases covered. When it comes to the Google Play store, sometimes it feels a bit like the wild west. I just wanted to bring a little light to this issue and warn you guys before you go spending 5 or 6 bucks on in-game currency or items that can’t be refunded. Buyer beware.