The applications and games of Android gave great jumps in 2018. We saw titles of games AAA like Fortnite and PUBG in Android. We also saw excellent new applications and services such as Bouncer and YouTube Music. However, some applications and games simply were not so lucky. There was a series of scandals and mistakes made in 2018. The Cambridge Analytica Facebook scandal comes immediately to mind, but that was more the Facebook service instead of the Facebook application. Some applications were removed from Google Play for silly reasons (that actually happens a lot). In any case, some incidents are simply above the rest. We are pleased to report that Uber managed not to make this list for the first time in the history of this list. Congratulations to Uber! Here are the five most controversial apps and Android games of 2018!
Ad fraud served two ways
Google Play did not have one, but two major advertising fraud problems in 2018. The first bots used to simulate real people. This is how it worked. A group of developers would buy popular applications on Google Play from Bitcoin developers. They would keep the application maintained and track the user’s behavior. The developers would then create bots that emulated the human behavior they observed, except that these bots also viewed ads along with other things. The bots managed to avoid detection of Google Play bot for a long time. Click on the link above to find the complete list of the 129 applications that did it. The reason why this probably was not more difficult was because it did not really affect any end user. It was essentially a group of developers scamming the advertisers. However, that is not great and many of those applications were available in the Play Store at the time the report was made.
The second case of advertising fraud was for several Cheetah Mobile applications. This is a little less creative. Several applications of Cheetah Mobile, including Kika Keyboard and CM File Manager, read the applications installed on a user’s phone. CM would then take credit for all the applications that the user installed and collected the advertising money. Cheetah Mobile swears that it did nothing and that the advertising SDKs were to blame. However, Cheetah Mobile has implemented deceptive advertising tactics before, so we do not necessarily trust them. Google is still investigating the time of writing this article, so we will have to wait and see how it works.
Fortnite buck on trends for better or for worse
The narrative of the biggest Android game of 2018 was PUBG Mobile versus Fortnite. The launch of PUBG Mobile was quite typical. It came out on Google Play, people enjoy it and everything went as usual. Then Fortnite came. For starters, the game is not available in the Google Play Store. Instead, it opted for a launch on the Epic Games website itself along with the Samsung app store. People lost their minds about it. The CEO called it a movement to promote a free and open platform. It also stands as the largest mobile game to do this. The installer had his share of problems, including a massive security problem from the beginning. There was also that annoying problem with all the fake Fortnite APKs. The developers of PUBG even sued Fortnite for stealing content, although that lawsuit was eventually dropped. Things have softened for now, but the kindness of the Fortnite mobile game had a difficult first six months.
Google shut down all the things
The Google application library had a surprisingly rough year. Let’s start with Hangouts and move around the circle. Reportedly, Google Hangouts is switching from a single chat service to a group chat service similar to Slack or Discord. That report triggered a surprisingly aggressive conversation on Twitter with a Hangouts developer. This puts an end to one of the few consistently decent chat services that Google had and as close as it ever got to a true version of iMessage for Android. Google surprised everyone by announcing the end of Google Allo. Many of Allo’s features are aimed at Android messages for now, but Allo is now officially circling down the drain. Finally, Google is closing Google+ in 2019 after not one, but two major data breaches. However, all this leaves Google in a hole after it announced that there will be no major new applications in 2018. However, they made a new mark of things for no apparent reason. It has been a surprisingly difficult year for Google.
Telltale Games had an epic accident and burned
Telltale Games had some of the best adventure games to point and click on the mobile. In general, they work with existing titles such as The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Minecraft, Borderlands and others. Well, 2018 is probably its last year in existence. The company announced a massive layoff in mid-September that saved only 25 employees. The dismissal also doubled as the announcement that the company was closing its doors. The CEO of Telltale Games, Pete Hawley, mentioned that poor sales are the main reason and that makes sense. The company simply did not generate as much fuss this year as it did in previous years. To make matters worse, employees filed a class action lawsuit against Telltale Games for illegal dismissal, citing WARN laws. That demand is ongoing as of the writing of this article.
Google and Amazon continue to fight seriously
Amazon and Google have been competitors for a while. However, at the end of 2017, things took a nasty turn for consumers when Google removed YouTube from all Amazon Fire devices, starting with Echo Show. This became a one-year trench war that is only making things more difficult for consumers who use Amazon and Google products. Initially, Amazon promised to start selling Chromecasts again, which only started again at the beginning of December 2018. That certainly did not help at all. Both companies announced that conversations were being held to restore YouTube to Amazon devices and possibly other things. While we definitely do not intend to leverage, we would love Amazon Prime Video to also receive Chromecast support.
In any case, the companies interrupted the conversations in early 2018 after Google intentionally worsened YouTube for Silk Browser, Amazon’s default browser. In March 2018, Amazon stopped selling Google Nest products. Of course, YouTube TV did not reach a Fire device either, so you can also add it to the list. This has lasted long enough and now borders on the absurd. We really hope that Amazon, which sells the Chromecast, helps put an end to this ridiculous and long problem, sooner rather than later. Until the dust settles, we recommend buying Roku or Nvidia Shield. These devices do not seem to be affected by this prepossessing combination of piss.