11
Mar
unnamed (5)

Update: One of our commenters, Dan, actually spoke to Amanita on Facebook, and they explained the whole situation. Tl;dr - the old Hothead version will receive updates. Here's the full answer, which confirms some of our suspicions about the falling out:

hi, we had to republished Machinarium for Android because the older version was published by Canadian publisher Hothead Games. the collaboration wasn't ideal so we agreed to end it and publish the game again ourselves. unfortunately it's not possible to change the publisher of the existing app so the older app was unpublished and we could publish the brand new app. the old app is still available for all who bought it so you don't need to worry about it... it's easy to update also the older version but it has to be done by our former Android publisher Hothead Games. we will send them all future updates. [SIC]

It seems that publisher Hothead Games and Machinarium developer Amanita Design have had a falling out of late, resulting in the termination of a Play Store distribution partnership between the two companies.

Hothead Games was originally contracted to distribute the highly-awarded indie title Machinarium on Android, but recently, a new listing for the game under developer Amanita's name appeared on the Play Store. The old Hothead listing has since been removed.

What happened? Amanita and Hothead haven't commented, but my guess is that Amanita wasn't happy with the way Hothead was maintaining the game (or hey, maybe it was vice versa). It was a full 8 months before the Hothead version of the title was updated to support the Nexus 7 - an event that transpired less than two weeks ago. Then, the listing disappeared, and the new version under Amanita's name (and a different pname in the Play Store) was published, priced a dollar higher.

This means if you purchased the Hothead version, you're out of luck on receiving future updates. You'll still be able to re-download the game, though - so at least that's not a concern. Regardless, this is an unfortunate turn of events, and while we're still not sure exactly what went down, one can only hope it was a compelling enough reason to justify putting an end to future updates for those who already bought the game.

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Danny Holyoake

    I wonder what this means for the Humble Bundle version.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Good question - that may have been Amanita distributing it directly, who knows. It did work on the Nexus 7 when it was released, as opposed to the Play Store version.

  • Dan r. Maor

    I've asked them that directly in their Facebook page a few days ago. The listing is still accessible through your purchased apps list in the web Play store (so you can redownload it to any device you want), and they will also send all future updates to the Hothead version as well.
    http://www.facebook.com/Amanita.Design/posts/10151391761274118?comment_id=24896302&notif_t=feed_comment

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Ah, well, that solves that. Thanks, Dan.

  • PoPy76

    When you want to change your Google account used to publish apps, there is a way to ask google teams to migrate apps from one account to another :

    http://support.google.com/googleplay/android-developer/answer/139626?hl=en

    So they should be able to migrate just one app ... Breaking updates support for customer that paid for an app is a shame !!!

    Another example I had do deal with was an abusive DCMA request from "AOL" for using the "Winamp" word in an application title (that can be changed in the publisher console in few seconds). I never received any e-mail from them, but my app was suspended by google, and as I didn't wanted some lawsuit as a little developper I had no solution to get my access back. The only solution would have been to republish the app with another package name, that making impossible to provide updates to my old customers ... Holly Shit !!!

    • http://twitter.com/RvLeshrac RvLeshrac

      Defending their trademark (Winamp) is not "abusive."

      • PoPy76

        Of course defending their trademark is not abusive, what is abusive is to send a DCMA request without even sending me an e-mail to remove one word from a field that is not dependant to the build package, but only the Android Market. I never got back my access, and that was the only place where it "maybe" was abusive.

        • http://geniousatplay.blogspot.com/ Bikram Agarwal

          I've got couple of such suspensions. Only if they had mailed me before....!
          Also, apparently "Ubuntu" name is a trademark but the Ubuntu logo isn't.

        • http://twitter.com/RvLeshrac RvLeshrac

          That's not "abusive," that's simply "being assholes." A DMCA request is less expensive than contacting you.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    While I appreciate that Amanita will send updates to Hothead Games to publish, I have to question whether
    a) it's possible to publish updates to a deleted game from the technical standpoint
    b) if it is, whether devices with the game installed would see such updates
    c) Hothead Games will continue to publish these updates and invest time into something they can no longer make money off or care for

    Does anyone have any insight into the first 2?

    • http://twitter.com/RvLeshrac RvLeshrac

      It isn't possible to publish updates to a deleted title.

      • StriderWhite

        actually it seems that also some "deleted" games received some kind of updates:
        http://www.supergamedroid.com/2013/03/11/dungeon-defenders-second-wave-gets-a-phantom-update/

        • http://twitter.com/RvLeshrac RvLeshrac

          In order to update an app, you must republish it, making it Available in Play again. You cannot update an app via Play if it is not available on Play.

          You *CAN* push updates *WITHIN* the app, which is entirely possible, but your app would need to be built for that (Dungeon Defenders uses a launcher/downloader) -- and you still wouldn't be able to update via Play.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            So what if they republish it, push the update, and immediately unpublish again?

          • http://twitter.com/RvLeshrac RvLeshrac

            I seem to recall a dev saying that wasn't a viable option for whatever reason. I can't remember WHICH dev, though.

    • Mike Reid

      Last I checked, Google doesn't really say much about how it works.

      I un-published a free app about a year ago, and I think some people may have gotten updates, but I'm not sure. New users could not install though.

      Google makes it pretty much impossible to fully delete an app. Can't even stop new sales and service existing users without the "raise the price to $100+" hack.

      Un-publish seems the main option closest to a delete. Google really doesn't want existing apps to be deleted in most cases.

      Another problem with apps is that they are signed by the "publisher". Publisher usually doesn't want to hand over their signing keys, which they may use for many apps. To avoid a future potential problem, apps should be signed with app specific keys that can be sold or assigned along with the app.

    • Himmat Singh

      I would like to see clarifications on the above points. maybe you guys can run an article. But from what I hear, a and b are possible. Also, if any app/game gets removed, will you always get to redownload it? RR2 free/demo was pulled sometime last year but I cannot access it from the My Apps list. Maybe get some official response from Google if possible.

  • Ralph Miranda

    Thanks for the update, I wasn't aware of any of this until I ran into this article.

  • Ken T

    The Hothead version is not and never was available at all after Amanita designs took over te license. They still have it on the market in the "My Apps" section, but it is no longer supported by any device.

    I hope both of these thieving companies go out of business. It seems that about 6 out of 10 apps that I buy on Android are either yanked or made into freemium garbage soon after I buy them....

    It is a good argument for piracy I will tell you that...