For as long as I can remember, Android Market has been home to countless console emulators like Nesoid, Snesoid, Gameboid, and many more. These emulator applications allow users to use game ROMs from different consoles and play their favorite games on their Android phone or tablet. Surprisingly, they work very well and a lot of these emulator apps are found among the top paid applications in Android Market. … Well, they used to be.
Yong Zhang, developer of several emulator apps, woke up this morning to an inbox full of panic-filled emails and to find that his apps and developer account (yongzh) had been removed by Google, without notice. Lucky for previous buyers, Zhang has moved his applications over to the SlideME market, where the will be available for free for a limited amount of time.
Unfortunately, this isn't the first time this has happened to emulator developers. Just last month, Sega filed a complaint over two emulators in the Market and they were quickly removed. A similar story came from ZodTTD when the PSX4Droid (a PlayStation emulator) app was unexpectedly pulled from the Market and their developer account was frozen.
So what is with the sudden purging of emulators by Google?
The first thing that comes to mind is the recent launch of the Xperia Play. Now that Sony has their nose buried in Android, PlayStation emulators and apps of the like will be stepping on their toes, preventing them from making the money they're expecting from game sales on the PlayStation phone.
With Sony allegedly at the origin of the debacle, other companies like Sega, Nintendo, and Atari are finally realizing the existence of these emulators and may follow suit. Google is most likely taking a precautionary step to avoid a slew of lawsuits. These devs should probably be thanking Google for removing the apps before any suits were filed, even if it was their primary source of income.
The odd thing is, Google hasn't really given the developers reason as to why their applications were removed beyond a generic answer: “We remove apps from Android Market that violate our policies.” I'm sure the developers who are certainly taking the blunt of this blow and users who have paid money for these emulators would like a more detailed explanation, as would I.
What's even more strange, not all emulators have been removed from Market. Some are still lingering, even paid ones. Get 'em while you can, folks.
Image via Ubergizmo