Licensing 3rd Party Apps and Games

I recently had an interesting discussion with someone over licensing, and how licensing works with 3rd party applications and games and more importantly, what role I choose to play in this regard.  They seemed very confused over what licensing is, or what is happening.



Where FileArchiveHaven Has Been Going

FileArchiveHaven is expanding. A lot 🙂

I’ve now leveraged 15 or so paid contractors to help over the last few years and I’m very fortunate in that I’m now reaching 11 separate platforms for applications and games.  This means having an incredible arsenal of test devices, test kits and development kits (and you don’t even want to KNOW how expensive console development kits are).

However, many developers are relatively small, low on funding, or find their apps and games haven’t done as well as they would like – and they don’t want to reach into deeper platforms.



Why License an Application or Game?

To know why, we have to understand where the demand comes from.  Early on in the BlackBerry Playbook era, we experienced an issue that is now common on many platforms.  We had a great OS that became the framework for BlackBerry 10, but a lack of drive from developers to bring their apps and games to the platform.  Users tried everything from petitioning developers (with mixed success) to creating legally questionable remakes of popular applications that have ended up pulled from BlackBerry World and resulted in unhappy users.

In many discussions, the decision came back to the same thing – developers need incentive.

If they don’t have access to devices (such as is often the case on fringe platforms such as BlackBerry 10) they simply won’t build for the platform.  And without a financial push, they have no reason to come to the new platforms – its a risk they don’t want to take.

To address this, I (along with many other developers) have been offering to act as an intermediary for application and game developers.  Generally, we either:

  • Pay for licensing in its entirety.
  • We may only buy rights to the source code from the original developer.
  • Or we may act as a pass-through for them to release their applications and games.

This ensures the original developer earns a return, and brings their applications and games to new platforms – but it also means passing the costs onto any users interested in that application.  This is not restricted only to BlackBerry either.  For example, I’m currently helping some small developers that don’t have access to console test systems as a pass-through provider, to allow them to reach a wider audience with their applications and games.




Why This Post?

This post is here to show why I choose to publish applications and games, or license them, depending on my available budget and interest in a project.  It doesn’t interfere with my current projects, it helps myself, helps another small developer, and helps bolster a platform – more importantly its also a choice. Make no mistake, licensing or publishing an application on behalf of another developer is considerably less work than building an entirely new application or game – but that’s what most publishers do.  FileArchiveHaven often acts as both an indie development house and as a publisher.

So, why does this post need to be created?

Recently I’ve seen a couple of squeaky wheels trying their best to damage the reputation of people, companies or ecosystems, but who seem to be speaking from a lack of experience in the subjects they are speaking to.

I recently encountered an overly opinionated writer that seeks to attack developers over licensed assets, applications, and games.  However, looking closer, the same writer is promoting popular games doing just that. To be clear, this developer is a decent developer and deserves to be supported – he’s legally and ethically licensing an asset and building for a new platform that wouldn’t see it otherwise. He is contributing to the ecosystem, and arguably doing far more good to the platform than the writer is.

I realized quickly that the writer is speaking from a lack of knowledge and that somewhere, something needs to be written that explains the reasons for licensing in more detail.  I hope he finds a better path in his journey, and I encourage anyone writing articles (opinionated or otherwise) to invest the time to research the topic first and to do their due diligence in fact finding.


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