Some folks recently sent us news that the 50mb limit of Google's market has been lifted. Here's the info straight from the horse's mouth:
Unfortunately, the same app size limit still exists. It's still going to require the same technique developers have been using to circumvent the limit for quite some time. The .apk will need to be under 50mb, but can download further data after the fact. The improvement here is that Google is now offering to host up to 4GB of extra data, and that any secondary download is more tightly integrated with the market itself. These are welcome improvements, but due to the way Battleheart is built, it would require a significant amount of time to implement.
As near as I can tell, a complete removal of any size limits is never going to happen due to the way the android market must download apps into a finite download cache (somewhere between 30-50mb depending on the device) which must exist on the device's internal storage. Many devices don't have much internal storage, and the exact amount can vary wildly, so if the cache has to stay, it would have been great to be optionally placed on the device's roomy SD card as needed, and its size greatly increased. This seems like a better solution to me, but I'm not privy to the inner workings of the Android market. I'm sure there are reasons why they chose the approach they did.
We could re-engineer how Battleheart accesses its data to work with this new system. This isn't an impossible task, but it doesn't make a lot of sense to dedicate resources to it. For one, we're in the middle of production on another game, and can't simply drop everything to implement this because Google finally delivered on a year-old promise. And secondly, as I mentioned on Twitter, our Android apps aren't making money. A few people took offense to the bluntness of this statement, so I'll clarify in more delicate terms. There's a big difference between generating revenue, and "making money" - It's not that they haven't generated income, but that income is offset by the additional support costs the platform has demanded. Where did your dollar go? We spent about 20% of our total man-hours last year dealing with Android in one way or another - porting, platform specific bug fixes, customer service, etc. I would have preferred spending that time on more content for you, but instead I was thanklessly modifying shaders and texture formats to work on different GPUs, or pushing out patches to support new devices without crashing, or walking someone through how to fix an installation that wouldn't go through. We spent thousands on various test hardware. These are the unsung necessities of offering our apps on Android. Meanwhile, Android sales amounted to around 5% of our revenue for the year, and continues to shrink. Needless to say, this ratio is unsustainable.
From a purely economic perspective, I can no longer legitimize spending time on Android apps, and the new features of the market do nothing to change this. While this news may be disappointing, I hope people can accept that we've done everything we can reasonably do to bring our apps to as many potential players as possible, despite the obstacles.
Thanks for reading, and for your understanding.
Edit: I'm seeing this post linked in various places, and I want to make one thing clear if you're arriving here from a blog having a slow news day: my comments here are simply my experience. It is not a condemnation of the android platform as a whole. It is not a proclamation that things will never improve. It is also not a weapon to be swung in the never-ending holy war between fans of one platform or another. This is simply a message to our players, who are wondering what we're up to. And if you feel the urge to criticize our decision, ask yourself: are you an authority on the value of our time? You don't have to like our decision, but you must accept that we are the only ones equipped to make it.