Threes! Removed from Google Play Because of ‘2048’ Keyword

Sometimes the business of mobile games makes my head hurt. Tonight’s development is no exception.

Indie games developer Asher Vollmer has revealed on Twitter that Google has removed Threes! from Google Play. The reason?

Apparently using the term “2048” was enough to get the game banned from sale.

If you haven’t been following the mobile gaming scene in the last year, there’s a good chance you’re missing the irony here. Let’s do our best to fix that situation.

2048 was a shameless clone of Sirvo LLC’s Threes!, a game created by Vollmer and Greg Wohlwend. During the brief few weeks that Threes! appeared on iOS but not Android, a mobile version of 2048 appeared on Google Play as a free download. This essentially obliterated Threes! chances at Android success, and thanks to its open source nature, inspired a litany of clones on both Google Play and the App Store.

The situation is so bad, it would seem, that Sirvo felt the need to use 2048 as a search word to help sell the game that 2048 stole from.

And today, Google decided to ban them for it.

Of course, searching for “Threes” on Google Play will still bring up more than a few games that borrow liberally from Sirvo’s original creation. But at the time of this writing, none of these are the real deal. Hopefully we’ll see this situation rectified soon.

In the meantime, if you’re an Android owner and want to get in on Threes!, Vollmer has a helpful hint: there’s always the Amazon App Store.

UPDATE: Shortly after this article went live, Vollmer tweeted again with an update to the situation. The game has now been returned to Google Play.

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