Android gets a lot less open as Google takes down game console emulators

Summary:The wild west formerly known as Android Market is getting some bottom-down taming from Google as the company removes a set of popular gaming apps.

If you are one of the many Android users who bought into the whole openness thing Google was preaching with the platform, now may be the time to question your support.

The most recent casualty to Google's increasingly closed platform approach is developer Yong Zhang, who found over the weekend that his series of game console emulators had been banned from the Android Market. But that wasn't all. Zhang, who goes by the name of yongzh, also found his Android Market developer status revoked. Clearly, someone was sending him a message.

The reason? Zhang's emulators, which include Nesoid, Snesoid N64oid, replicate the functionality of old games consoles, a feature which the video game industry has traditionally not been too fond of. Console emulators are in a bit of a grey area, legally sanctioned (and mostly useless) providing they do not also include copies of actual games. This is why the removal of the apps is a bit strange.

The most recent takedown comes a month after Google pulled Zhang's Sega Genesis emulator after receiving a complaint from Sega. Psx4droid developer ZodTTD also saw his PlayStation emulator taken down, though the developer maintains that the removal was due to the app's use of the PlayStation logo. It should, however, be noted that the removal of Psx4droid came right before the release of Sony Ericcson's Xperia Play, which offers native support for PlayStation games.  For what it's worth.

The news also comes not long after it was revealed that owners of rooted Xoom tablets would not be able to run Google's recently-revealed movie rental service. Blockbuster later added to the ire, preventing owners of rooted Droid Charge phones from watching the phone's bundled Blockbuster app. Clearly, Google's open rhetoric isn't entirely compatible with the reality of digital content.

[Via Engadget]

Topics: Android, Google, Hardware, Mobility

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Ricardo Bilton writes for ZDNet's The ToyBox.

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