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

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.

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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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33 comments
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  • RE: Android gets a lot less open as Google takes down game console emulators

    Sounds like Android users are getting Jobbed.
    Bodazapha
    • RE: Android gets a lot less open as Google takes down game console emulators

      @Bodazapha Not at all, if he changes the names he can repost them as the console manufacturers still own stuff like NES, PSX, N64... That is how they pressured Google into removing them because you see, Google does abide by the law.
      slickjim
      • RE: Android gets a lot less open as Google takes down game console emulators

        @Peter Perry You see - that was a pun ( Steve Jobs - Jobbed) on the article "Android gets a lot less open..."
        Bodazapha
      • RE: Android gets a lot less open as Google takes down game console emulators

        @Bodazapha I got that but noted they really aren't.
        slickjim
      • RE: Android gets a lot less open as Google takes down game console emulators

        @Peter Perry
        Oh yeh that's going to happen. Why don't you hold your breath. LOL
        alphaxi3
      • RE: Android gets a lot less open as Google takes down game console emulators

        @Peter Perry

        But he can't because Google revoked his developer status. Your Google-view and reality seem rather divergent.
        eak2000
    • LoL!

      @Bodazapha indeed. I'm of the opinion the general population will need to wake up a bit before things start moving in the right direction again. I've had my current phone (a D1) for a year and 1/2 and the only reason it's still usable is that I've rooted an o/ced it. As a result I've had more money to spend on movies and apps in the market. Truly open is a good thing.
      relativityboy
  • RE: Android gets a lot less open as Google takes down game console emulators

    I think you're confused... The apps are now available via SlideME without rooting the device so you see, Android is still open but the Market is being more restrictive like all you guys wanted.

    As for the Movie Stuff, Google had no legitimate DRM until this release, this is a move they have to take to get the studios on board and it wouldn't surprise me if the DRM portion stayed closed long after honeycomb source is release (minus the DRM of course).

    Anyway, the movie thing is irrelevant as well because anyone who has used a custom ROM can tell you, the Google Apps are not considered part of Android and the ROM builders are not allowed to preinstall those due to licensing restrictions...
    slickjim
  • You seem to misunderstand Android

    Your assessment that it is "less open" shows a core misunderstanding of how Android works and what makes it open. It is not an iPhone, the Android Market is not the only store. You can still download and use these apps. Just not via the Market. Nothing is "less open" as you say. It's just not in the Android Market.
    brother451
    • Then iPhone is **no** less open than Android: it is legitimate to jailbreak

      @brother451: ... iPhone, and get <b>any kinds of applications through Cydia App Store.</b>

      The court established that this is legitimate, so, actually, iPhone is no less open than Android.
      DDERSSS
      • &quot;Open&quot; doesn't always mean &quot;illegal&quot;

        @denisrs I think the point of Android's openness is that these other "app stores" or the ability to install apps outside of the primary marketplace is automatically built in and supported by the OS. To accomplish the same things on the iPhone requires rooting or jail-breaking.

        There are a whole lot of non-hacker-types and people who are not breaking terms of service who are installing apps directly from the maker's website or via alternative stores like the Amazon App Store or others. There are fewer who are hacker-types and people who are breaking terms of service who are jail-breaking their iPhones.

        The term "more open" was never meant to imply anything about the app marketplace Google runs and operates. It's about the OS.
        BIGELLOW
      • RE: Android gets a lot less open as Google takes down game console emulators

        @denisrs Not true, I don't have to root my android devices to use other application sources.

        Also, I want to see you compile iOS from source to use on a non apple handset.
        slickjim
      • RE: Android gets a lot less open as Google takes down game console emulators

        @Peter Perry: agree, there is jailbreaking procedure for the iPhone. But once it is done, the iPhone is as open as Android phone.

        iOS, yes, can not be compiled for other hardware. But this is not that important since already on original iPhone everyone be as open as one can want after jailbreak.
        DDERSSS
      • ZDNet: Fix your damned comment system

        @ BIGELLOW
        "The term "more open" was never meant to imply anything about the app marketplace Google runs and operates. It's about the OS."

        And the Android OS is NOT open to the end user, only the OEMs in conjunction with the carriers, so what is your point?
        DeusXMachina
      • ZDNet: Fix your damned comment system

        @Peter Perry<br>"Also, I want to see you compile iOS from source to use on a non apple handset."<br><br>I'd love to see you do that for Android on a non-Google handset, too. You can't.
        DeusXMachina
  • Figures...

    Figures all this goes down after I get my Android tablet.
    Bates_
    • RE: Android gets a lot less open as Google takes down game console emulators

      @Bates_ Androids open nature allows you to install a package from other sources... So, these packages are still available from other areas and slideme has them for free for the next several days so Google did you a favor!
      slickjim
      • RE: Android gets a lot less open as Google takes down game console emulator

        @Peter Perry I downloaded them using SlideMe this past weekend onto my rooted Nook Color.
        athynz
  • Google is Courting Hollywood

    And, Hollywood loves a closed, locked down, system. It helps insure their profits and their control over both the content creators (aka artists) and consumers. So, it makes good business sense for Google to kill apps like this. Those of us who enjoy such retro games don't like it but it's business as usual and, in spite of their "do no evil" protestations, Google is a big corporate business.

    What's being missed by the entertainment industry is the considerable opportunity presented by mobile applications. If they would be just a little more open and not fixated upon their increasingly antiquated business model creative people wouldn't be trying to find work arounds.
    ancientprogrammer
    • RE: Android gets a lot less open as Google takes down game console emulators

      @ancientprogrammer this!
      Bodazapha