open is as open does

Apple is obviously the bad guy in the mobile gaming space, removing the DOS emulators and giving the C64 emulator a hard time. You can’t find any classic emulators for GameBoy or PlayStation at all (unless you jailbreak of course, then it’s easy). Besides with the release of the truly exceptionally-marketed Sony XPeria Play, who wants to play any games on a touchscreen anyways? Apple is clearly doomed – there is no easy way to play outdated games designed for decades-old consoles on their 2011 phone.

But wait! Engadget tells us that Google just pulled ZodTTD’s PSX4Droid emulator from its market. I thought Android was open and the market was unregulated! That’s what makes it so awesome, right? Well, it looks like Google prefers not to upset its handset manufacturers by offering a way to pirate the very games Sony now hopes to sell in its new XPeria store. Who would have thought?

Now it’s just as easy to install a PS emulator on Android as it is on iOS. Jailbreak (or root), void your warranty, and off you go. No big deal, unless you need a repair or tech support. Besides, who do you even talk to about Android support anyway? My guess is internet forums who couldn’t care less that you have a rooted phone. I have a jailbroken iDevice, but I’m not stupid enough to ask Apple to fix it for me if it breaks. I have emulators on it, but I’m not audacious enough to demand that Apple host them in the App Store.

That’s why I agree with Google here. Emulators have always been a gray legal area, and Sony’s push into the Android game market was bound to stir up the PS emulation scene. It’s just amusing to watch Android apologists defending this move on the “openness” front. It’s fine with me if Google chooses not to host a possibly illegal program; just don’t try to tell me Apple is somehow horrible for doing the same thing.

“Don’t Be Evil” is now officially “Don’t Piss Off the OEMs,” and that’s a good strategy to make money and ensure the success of your platform. It’s just not open.

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