Why there are no good mtg free apps for Android?

This lack of good apps for this game may be astonishing at first. Magic is a popular game and Android is a popular platform. You should expect a few good mtg apps. WotC (Wizards of the coast, the makers of the game) is going to release an official app soon, but that has not been the case for the past years, so why there are no good free mtg apps?

Well, the fact is that there were good Android mtg apps, not to long ago M:tG Tracker was a free app and you could upgrade to the paid version. The app was as good as to get 3rd place on the Best Reference category of Best App Ever 

And that was not the only one. There were a few more, like MtG Tutor with a lot of features including a very good advanced search or MtG Depot with a very nice interface. Also, on the paid side there was Deck Forge, which had a lot of features and, I’ll admit it, took the lead of innovation in many aspects before I did.

But all those apps are no longer there, and the reason is that WotC have sent copyright infringement notices to google, asking  to remove them. Why now? The only reason I can think of is that they are going to release their own app and they want to wipe out competition.

Why making a better product if you can have “the only alternative”?

Let me clarify that.

Don’t take me wrong, there were material from WotC and is their right to claim the suspension of apps, but up to now this apps were made with good will, and were adding value to their product. Also, there was never the intention to talk, none of the developers of those apps were warned or given a chance to remove the copyrighted material from their apps.

Also, I’ve seen the screenshots and the app looks promising, so I don’t think they are going to do a bad product. But why should you risk your market share anyway? Maybe for the sake of more than 200.000 people that were using apps that are no longer available while the official alternative has not been released yet.

Make no mistake, WotC is not releasing the official app to help players, it is going to do it to make money. That is the only conclusion I can reach from their actions.

At this point: Why is M:tG Tracker (formerly pro version) still available?

When I got the free version suspended, I went through the app and I removed all the copyrighted material, the fonts, the mana icons, the tap icons, etc. with the hope that it will prevent that one from being suspended… it has worked so far.

I am trying to clarify what exactly can be put and what can not, and also asking for the procedure of licensing the material so I don’t have to worry about it in the future. While this is not settled, I can not afford to continue with the features I had in mind, risking that all that work may be trashed at anytime.

Thanks to all the users that have been supporting me and the other developers. If someone asks you “Why are no good mtg free apps for Android?” you can now tell them why.

6 thoughts on “Why there are no good mtg free apps for Android?

  1. Thank you for both the information, and your diligence. Best wishes regarding your licensing and I look forward to the developments once this fiasco is resolved. M:tG Tutor is an excellent app!

  2. When I got an android phone, I first thought to myself, “this will be awesome because of mtg apps, etc”, and now this is not the case.. however, I would like to know where you are at now, because there is still a massive lack in the mtg department, and you seem to care/know what you are doing.shoot me an email, and here’s a suggestion in case you hadn’t thought about it before: what about just creating the app you want to create, and releasing the .apk on several file sharing websites. It would likely cost wotc more money to track you down and your omnipresent links than to ignore you, and simply post the updates for your fans?

    • Well, two things here, first is that WotC has stopped going after 3rd party developers after the fiasco of their “Toolbox”, second is that the free version of MTG Tracker is available for download via a external link (http://free.magictgtracker.com/), but then you need to do the updates manually. I recommend you to check out the facebook page to be notified of updates.

  3. I think the internet has made WotC’s role in the world of D&D as we know it irnvaeelrt. Paizo is steaming along with Pathfinder and that is probably what has WotC on the defensive. The OSR continues to put out product on a smaller scale. The thing is, 4E appears to be losing ground to its older relatives. I’m not sure that WotC can realistically think that they can recapture this. Given the muscles of Hasbro behind them, what they should really do is take D&D off of the table and into the internet, be it virtual tables, computer games, what have you.I honestly believe that D&D as a brand needs to die so its clones can live.

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