Games Marketing/Business

Published on Google Play? Kinda. Not Really.

After over nine months of development, I finally had a game I felt good about brave enough to release to the world.

My major goal was to release the app on the Google Play store first to get a sense of what the process is like and to get direct knowledge about the customers there.

I clicked Publish late in the evening of Saturday, October 22nd. Whew! A big step!

But now I’m in “Pending publication”, and while many unofficial resources mentioned waiting mere minutes to a few hours, I learned that Google changed its policy in 2015 to manually check apps. It still doesn’t take two weeks like it might on Apple’s App store, but it might take a little longer than it used to.

The status switched from “Pending publication” to “Published” the morning of Monday, October 24th. Woo hoo!

Leaf Raking Game - Published Sorta

Er, wait. Sorta.

For an entire day, and even now the next morning, October 25th, I still see “We’re sorry, the requested URL was not found on this server” when I click on the “View in Play store” link.

I keep finding all sorts of unofficial explanations about caching and how long it can be expected to take for listings to propagate through the system, but the only hint that it might take much time at all is in the Developer Console help article “Issues publishing apps” which asks if it “has been over 24 hours since published”, but then goes on to talk about search algorithm changes and reasons why apps might get filtered out on certain devices.

It doesn’t address a published app not actually being available anywhere.

It’s kind of difficult to feel good about finally publishing my project when I can’t point out any evidence to anyone. As a first-time publisher on Google Play, this experience is confusing and leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

According to someone on IRC, they had emailed earlier in the day and learned that there were some technical difficulties on Google’s end:

“Typically apps can take up to 24 hours to appear on the Play Store, however we are currently experiencing longer than usual delays across a large portion of our system. Our technical team is actively working on a solution and hope to have this issue fixed by the end of the day.”

So, we wait.

I find it confusing because when I self-publish on my own site, I don’t consider the game published until someone else can actually see it.

But this experience is teaching me about the process way more than reading about it ever would.