Google bans GameStop-backed Flash games app

Google has caused a major rift with GameStop over the removal of its Kongregate Arcade game app from the Android Market, despite many believing that Google would support it.

The app was developed by game firm Kongregate, which is owned by GameStop. The app featured 300 Flash games, with more planned for release over time. It was also to be widely promoted by GameStop in its retail stores.

Within hours of its arrival in the Android Market it was removed by Google, with the reason being that it had broken submission rules. Google considered the app as an app store, which is against its Market rules.

Kongregate’s CEO, Jim Greer, said that his company’s app is not really an app store, since it offers all of its games for free. He said he is shocked at its removal, because he had already shown the app to several people at Google before its release, suggesting that it had been given an internal nod of approval.

He also thought Google would support the project since it features hundreds of Flash-based games, free of charge, which would give it an edge on Apple’s devices, none of which allow Flash. Google’s close relationship with Adobe since the Apple Flash ban clearly wasn’t enough to see the Kongregate Arcade approved.

It’s not difficult to see why Google removed the app, as it clearly does not want other app markets becoming more popular than its own, even if they feature entirely free games. At the same time, Amazon is releasing its own Android Market, which will take people away from Google’s official one resulting in Google, in essence, contradicting its own rules.

Consumers could have benefited from the competition, which would have particularly suited Android’s open platform. Kongregate doesn’t lose out completely though, because the operating system’s open source nature means users can download the app from the company’s website.