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Outside markets use new tactics for Android games

by Kristen Nicole

Gameloft’s been changing its attitude towards the Android platform, moving some of its popular titles into the Android Market, and now loosening up some of its DRM restrictions for website game purchases. Now, you can re-download a Gameloft title at a later time, even when you get a new device, reports DroidGamers. Prior to the update, you had to re-purchase any Gameloft titles when you upgrade your Android phone, double-dipping on fees. The Android Market, which is associated with your own account, allows you to re-install apps on new devices. It’s another leap of faith for Gameloft, which has been operating its game portal independent of the Android Market until recently.

Third party marketing power

While Gameloft is just now easing its way into the Android Market and its app install norms, another third party marketplace is becoming a hot spot for mobile game promotions. The Amazon Appstore has proven itself a worthy Android Market contender, attracting Rovio and PopCap for exclusive game launches. Earlier this year, Rovio launched its Angry Birds Rio edition on Amazon’s Appstore a week before releasing the popular game on the Android Market, and this week PopCap has taken things a step further, debuting its first Android games with the third party app store.

After months of anticipation, gamers found they had to go through Amazon to get the first PopCap titles released for Android devices, with the added benefit of downloading Chuzzle (today) and Plants vs. Zombies (May 30) for free. Amazon has featured a free app or game of the day since launching the Appstore back in March, appeasing both game publishers and gamers. PopCap intends on releasing its games on the Android Market soon, though no exact date has been given.

The marketing potential around mobile games is spreading to third party platforms as well, with OpenFeint having expanded its free-to-play promotions last week. Launching its OFX platform for Android, developers can offer free-to-play games, where users play for free, paying real money for the virtual goods needed to enhance and continue gameplay. It’s a monetization method that’s seen early success in mobile gaming, with OpenFeint reaping the bulk of the rewards.