Monday, October 06, 2014

Blowing Up Another DeathStar

As Disney reigns in and cashes out Star Wars products, they have done another sweep of mobile games - this time with developer Nimblebit. The company is responsible for games such as Tiny Tower. They produced one called Tiny Death Star, where you run your own super battle station, make money, and spend the funds to improve your weapon of destruction in cute 8-bit form. They also developed Star Wars Assault Team.

Both games are barely a year old (the tiny Tower spin-off would have seen it's first birthday in November) and according to Nimblebit, Tiny Death Star was a good source of income for their small group. But in a Tweet as of October 3rd, Disney pulled the games from the store to focus the game team on "priority titles" such as Star Wars Commander. Games being pulled from mobile sales is very common. The issue here is how it happened. Disney never informed Nimblebit about it's decision. They just pulled the games. It wasn't until developers saw questions and concerns from customers on why they could not longer access the games, did they realize what had happened.

That's a pretty shady business practice. I realize that Disney has a lot of power, but I'm sure even in their over-sized contracts there is a clause that would at least give the developers 30 days to notify consumers before a product is pulled or something. These were free-to-play games that offered optional in-game purchases that are now completely lost because of Disney's lack of care. It's the wrong message to send to a partner, one that was continuing to make a profit for your company, and could question future deals. If Disney is like this with X company, what is to make them think differently about Y company?

Mostly it's a slap to the consumers. A warning or a notice, even if it were 7 days, would have been appreciated. Come on Disney. You're better then this.


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