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HeroCraft opts to sell its Android games direct

Criticises Google’s chargeback policy
HeroCraft opts to sell its Android games direct

Russian mobile games publisher HeroCraft has announced it has commenced direct sales of its own Android games.

While the company will continue to support Google’s Android Market service, its games can now also be downloaded directly onto Android devices through the HeroCraft WAP site (http://wap.herocraft.com/).

“Until now, Android Market was (the) only way for the device-owners to purchase HeroCraft applications and games,” reads a statement from the company.

“Now there is another option available as well: the users may purchase these products directly via visiting HeroCraft's WAP-site from their device and selecting the game or application from the list.”

The statement adds that “both full and demo version are available” on the service.

HeroCraft asserts that the savings made in omitting Google from the payment loop will be passed on to consumers:

“The obvious advantage of this method is (that it will) drastically lower application price,” it says.

Avoid the chargeback

We contacted HeroCraft’s UK development manager Matt Meads for comment on the move. It seems that, while it is not a major factor in the decision, HeroCraft has a considerable grievance with Google’s chargeback policy.

If a customer purchases an Android Market application worth less than £7 (which would include most games) on their credit card and then queries the charge on their bill, Google will refund the money and charge the publisher a fixed £5 fee without question or further investigation.

"Whilst I understand Google's position with not wanting to deal with disputes over relatively low-cost products,” says Meads, “I think their policy is grossly unfair in charging us the developer a £5 fee as well as automatically refunding the product.”

Meads believes that “To do so suggests the blame is attached to the developer when surely a customer not recognising a transaction from the Android Marketplace on their credit card bill is a failing on the part of Google's buying process and environment."

Meads predicts that many more Android developers will follow suit throughout 2010. This would stand as a major setback in Google’s efforts to rival the iPhone, whose App Store is the only means of distribution permitted by Apple.