Wednesday, November 9, 2016

We Are No Longer Supporting Android. Sigh.

When I stare into its cold, dead eyes, all I see is my own failure reflected back at me.

So I won't bury the lead in this blog post.

As of the very near future, Spiderweb Software will be discontinuing support for the Android platform. We will be removing our games from Google Play and the Amazon App store.

If you purchased Avadon or Avernum for Android from us in the past and need a copy for your device, please contact us and we will arrange a private download or refund, as needed.

We recently had a false alarm where we temporarily thought we would stop developing for the iPad. I was able to fix some technical issues and we're back in business on that platform. This will not be the case with Android. We may develop for that platform again, but it will be years before we are able to, if ever at all.

That's it. We're really sorry to anyone bummed out by this. If you're interested about the hassles of being a small software developer, read on.

So What the Hell Happened?

In the big indie gold rush of 2011-2, there were lots of dollars sloshing around for anyone who could come out with competent products. A good business opportunity came along if we let a certain company port two of our popular games, Avadon and Avernum, to Android tablets.

We took the deal. Solid ports of the two games were made. We got a bunch of money, and a bunch of customers were happy.

However, we did not control the source code to those ports. The 3rd party company did. This means that, if things broke, we couldn't fix them. We had to get the company to fix them.

Then the company went out of business. Now it is gone. Things are starting to slowly break.

We want to be an honest company. If we can't support it, we can't sell it. So off they go.

Well, If You're So Big, Why Don't You Port Them Yourself?

Because I'm only one guy, and I have limited brain bandwidth. I currently support three platforms. That's all I can handle without freaking out.

A lot of the problem is that we're using a pretty old game engine. Soon, we want to switch to a new engine, but first we have to find one that suits our needs. This may not exist. Then we have to switch to using it, which is a big job. Then that engine has to support Android, which it may not. Then I need to take on the considerable job of learning to develop for Android, which I might be too sleepy to do.

On top of all of this, in our experience, for us, Android doesn't make that much money. Honestly, iPad doesn't either anymore. I mainly write games for the iPad as a hobby, because it amuses me. (By the way, if you want to know why we don't develop for Linux, consider all the arguments above, but triple.)

If I Send You a Really Angry Email, Will It Change Things?

No. But you might as well try. Nothing has ever stopped people from sending us angry emails before.

This Is a Bummer. Anything Else?

Just that we are very early in the history of giant online video game stores. App stores like iTunes, Google Play, and Steam are fairly young in the scheme of things. As time goes on, more and more of the games in those stores are going to be abandoned by their publishers.

Our Android games are breaking, but it's OK. I'm still around, and I'm honest, so I can remove them. But what if I moved on to another job and forgot they existed? Who would be looking after them and making sure they're not ripoffs and traps for the customer?

I may have another blog post on this topic in the future.