EA is having issues with Need For Speed Shift on the Android Market …and it has nothing to do with Fragmentation

I think many people are making the wrong assumption in view of all the complaints over NFS Shift. Many have used the term fragmentation, claiming it’s just too difficult for developers to handle all the different handsets. But the difficulties of NFS Shift do not a result from the difficulty of developing for Android. It is simply a mistake made by EA in releasing a bad update to the game. To make matters worse it occurred just a day before putting the game on sale in a market, a market with it’s new 15 minute return policy. It’s definitely an issue that needs to be sorted out  but blaming it on fragmentation does no one any good.

Here’s how the story really goes. I bought Need for Speed Shift a week ago and it worked great, it worked great for almost everybody. I had been using a leaked copy since August as EA chose not to make it available and instead make a lucrative deal with Verizon for 4 months of exclusive access. The game had worked great since that day and the day they released it on the market, I bought it. The game hadn’t changed in 4 months and worked just as well as it did before. There were man happy people giving the game great reviews, with only a few complaints. Then about a week later, just a day before the $0.99 sale they released an update to the game. That update caused the game to no longer with many devices including my Samsung Galaxy S.

The real issue here is that they put out an update without properly testing it. Then it went on sale and  with ten times as many people buying the defective game got the issue noticed. An issue that might not have been as controversial had it not been for the new 15 minute return policy. It prevented many of these people from being able to return the defective game.

What this issue really brings to light is the Android market. The new 15 minute return policy is a reaction to complaints from developers but they reacted to far.  I understand 24 hours is too long especially when considering games. I beat Ultimate Spiderman: Total Mayhem in a day and if it was in the market I could have returned it easily within 24 hours. But now we see the other side of the coin and the issue that comes with too short of a return policy. I think the writing is on the wall and the people want a more reasonable 1 hour return policy which should be fair enough for both sides to agree on.

Another issue with the market is the issue of fraudulent games that can easily be sold on the market.  Right now there are two copies of NFS Shift available on the market (at least in Canada). The original one I bought is from EA Mobile. The second one which popped up recently is from Electronic Arts Mobile. I think it’s fairly unlikely EA is using two accounts to release the same game. I think the most likely explanation is that Electronic Arts is a fraudulent company selling the leaked version of NFS. It’s a smart time to try a scam like this as they’re less likely to get noticed by EA over Christmas. This other company selling a possibly a pirated version of the game could be causing even more issues and confusion in the market. It helps you understand why Gameloft wants to take its own approach to selling games.

That about wraps up what I think is going here. What do you think?

While I wait for EA to fix their game I paid $5 for last week, I’m heading back to the leaked version I got in August.

Dave Loft

  1. January 22nd, 2011

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