Google temporarily banned an app developer’s personal account due to another account’s activity
It’s a well-established fact at this point that Google’s support system is terrible, especially for developers creating apps on the Google Play Store. Google has left countless developers with random app or account terminations in the past, and an especially ridiculous case occurred recently — Google allegedly terminated a personal Google account and Play Developer account, simply because another Google account linked to the Play Developer account was suspended.
Raya Games, a games company based in the United Kingdom, released Fruitcraft, PerCity, and other Play Store games with a claimed “more than 1 million downloads in total.” According to the company’s timeline of events, multiple developers had access to a shared Google Play Console, but one of the developers left the company in March 2019 and had most permissions removed. Google supposedly terminated the personal Google account of the former developer in December 2021 due to “multiple policy violations,” and less than two months later, the Raya Games company account was also terminated without any prior notice or warning. Google went on to ban the personal Google account of the main developer, Ali Nadalizadeh, as well as a secondary account used for the company. Appeals for the account suspensions were not accepted.
Raya Games published a Reddit post on Wednesday explaining the situation to the Android Dev subreddit, and within eight hours, Google reviewed the case again and reinstated all accounts. The developer later wrote, “Although our issue has been resolved, and we are really happy about that, there should not be a need for such a social media campaign in the first place and not all small businesses might have this chance to reinstate their accounts. I hope that the team at Google stops associating the accounts automatically and would improve their relationship with the developer community more than ever.”
The post from Raya Games doesn’t include all the details, and the former developer was seemingly still connected to the Play Console account at the time of the bans — the Reddit post explains they were consulting on the app, which was later unpublished. Still, there’s almost no reason for a shared Play Console account to be banned because one connected personal account was terminated (especially when it’s not the owner/admin of the Play Console). Illegal activity could be one explanation but considering the bans were resolved less than a day after the Reddit post was published, it’s unlikely there was anything bad going on.
Assuming the developer’s timeline and comments are accurate, this seems like another case of Google’s automatic systems and poor service support causing issues for smaller developers. Even though Raya Games says its account access has been reinstated, the company’s page on the Play Store is still unavailable (as of the time of writing).