I released a game about 5 years ago across multiple mobile platforms. I spent a couple of years supporting it, following user feedback and trying to improve its revenue unsuccessfully. In the end, I just patched all the holes I could and left it be.

Recently, I started getting a bunch of support requests for android. I don't know if it's an OS update clashing, or what, but I'm unable to do anything about it. I switched version control and backups a while (2 years or so) ago, and the earliest version of the code I have access to is from part way into a major overhaul and work on a sequel that I decided wasn't sustainable. In order to issue fixes I would need to finish the overhaul and there's no way I can afford to do that.

So... what is the best way to handle this? I was thinking of issuing refunds to the people with support requests and un-publishing from the store fronts. However, I don't want people who've just bought it to see it suddenly vanish. That's only an issue for Google Play (I don't really get any sales anywhere else now). I'm not sure if making the game unlisted would still allow players to access it from the "My Apps & Games" section in Google Play, or if any would realise if they could. Is there a better way?


  • 9
    \$\begingroup\$ First off, I want to applaud you for trying to do the right thing by your customers. Beyond considering what's moral right, you also need to consider what's legally necessary - do you have any support obligations specified in any of the agreements you made in the process of publishing your game? \$\endgroup\$
    – Pikalek
    Dec 28 '17 at 16:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Check support for the platforms it's on; if a platform is no longer supported you shouldn't feel obliged to support your game on it - even if people using that unsupported platform are still making purchases. If you're lucky this could narrow down the workload. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 28 '17 at 17:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not legally obligated to support the game, and the bug that has triggered this off isn't affecting a lot of customers. However, there comes a point where if the issues expand it makes me look bad for any future titles I release. It seems like something that should exist. Similar to unlisted status for Youtube videos. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 28 '17 at 20:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would try making update the description to say something along the lines of "No longer supporting this app. On OS version x.xx and newer the app may not work correctly." \$\endgroup\$ Jan 17 '18 at 18:12

You're admitting there is really no way for you to provide the support you want, so I think the solution is simply that you shut down the game, and you shut down your business. It didn't work out, and that is OK. You learned from it, and next time you do better. So really, unless you are able to find money, time, and other resources, it's time to just move on. Let it go.

There is one thing you can do though to "keep the dream alive" - you can open source your game and code. Perhaps push out one more update where you announce this, along with the GitHub link to the code. Maybe someone else will take it on and keep it going.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ I agree with your answer, but I think "failed" is a strong word for what happened, he supported the game for as long as he wanted. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bálint
    Jan 17 '18 at 10:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Agreed. I just edited. Fail is a kind of loaded word in hindsight, and not what I quite intended. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tim Holt
    Jan 17 '18 at 18:08

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