Google may delete (purchased) apps from your Android devices
When you buy an app or game digitally, you don't really own it. What this means is that it can be taken away from you at any time, usually without compensation. The advice is to buy physical products whenever possible.
One such case of a game being removed just happened for Android users who happened to buy the action RPG Wayward Souls. Released in 2014 for Android, Wayward Souls is a classic action RPG that has similarities to Secrets of Mana and other classics.
The game is still available for other platforms, but when you check its Google Play Store listing, you will get a 404 not found error. The game is gone, not only from the Play Store but apparently also from user devices thanks to Google's remote deletion capabilities.
Android users who bought Wayward Souls on Google Play are affected. The last snapshot of the game on Google Play listed it with a rating of 4.0, 10k reviews and over 100,000 downloads.
A user on Reddit asked if the game got delisted. The post dates back 2 months, but it can take time before games get pulled from user devices as well.
Android Police estimates that more than 300 titles were removed from the Play Store and user devices as of June 2022.
With millions of apps and games available for Android, the issue may look minor to many. In some cases, Google pulls apps and games that it verified to be malicious or problematic in other regards. In the case of Wayward Souls and some others, it does not appear to be related to this.
Google's policies are not very clear on the matter. Delistings may happen when developers pull their games or apps, or when the apps or games violate developer policies or distribution agreements.
While Google states that Android users may continue to use these games and apps after they have been delisted, this is apparently not entirely true anymore. Refunds are only offered in specific cases. These include when someone else using a user's account made a purchase or when users report unauthorized charges made using their cards or other payment methods. Android users from the EU and UK may also get a refund up to 48 hours after they made a purchase.
In other words, buyers of the Wayward Souls game won't receive compensation for the removal.
Unlike on PC or consoles, there is no option to buy physical Android games or apps. The only option is digital through Google Play or any of the other stores available. While it is unlikely that a purchase is removed, it can happen and has happened.
As far as games are concerned, there is a good chance that gamers buy multiple games from a single developer. Some users on the Reddit thread mentioned that multiple games were removed from their accounts. This can't be verified, but it is plausible.
Android users may save installed Android apps and games. These can then be installed at any time on devices, including emulators on PCs and other devices. Google can't remove the apps or games if Google Play is not installed on the device.
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