Publish same game with different themes

Hello everyone

i am planning to develop a game once and then publishing it with different themes like this popular publisher
or this non so popular publisher:

with maximal 5-10 different themes per game.

however i am sceptical now, because i read that: Editorial: Why Removing The Market’s “Just In” Section Is Good For Everyone - Except App Spammers

has someone any experience with this method to increase the total downloads? is it allowed or will i get banned?


I thought I read once in the Google Play Developer Policy, that they didn’t want you uploading multiple apps that are basically the same app but with different “themes”. But I can’t find that in the policy now. So they may have changed that. Google Play I don’t see anything here that would not allow multiple “similar” apps. There is this statement in the policy:

Impersonation or Deceptive Behavior: Don’t pretend to be someone else, and don’t represent that your app is authorized by or produced by another company or organization if that is not the case. Products or the ads they contain also must not mimic functionality or warnings from the operating system or other applications. Developers must not divert users or provide links to any other site that mimics or passes itself off as another application or service. Apps must not have names or icons that appear confusingly similar to existing products, or to apps supplied with the device (such as Camera, Gallery or Messaging).

But I believe that is talking about apps copycatting other developers apps, not your own apps.

You could, just to be safe, integrate the themes all into one apk. Make it so that the player can chose a specific theme he wants to play. You could then even give them say 5 themes and charge for the rest as an in-app purchase. And unlock those themes when the user buys them, through in-app purchase.

Yes, but what do you think they mean with this statement in the policy:

Do not post repetitive content.

Sure, the problem is I want to publish multiple apps to increase the overall download rate instead of one single app with in-app purchases but few downloads … and as you can see in the examples above it seems to work for them. The question is, do they have luck to not get banned or is it allowed to “copycat” your own apps with different themes.

Some would argue that focusing all your downloads into one app, instead of downloads spread among several apps, will make that app rank higher and therefore a better chance for future downloads. What you really get out of multiple apps is extra exposure. Say you make a game with a zombie theme and a game with a ninja theme; total downloads for both games will be higher because people search for zombie games and people search for ninja games. Basically your getting to make two descriptions and screenshots/promotional graphics in the market. You could still make one game with a ninja and a zombie theme, and add to the description about the ninja’s and zombies to the market listing, and make screenshots of both themes. I don’t think it will give you quite as much exposure as 2 different market listings but would almost be as good.

I don’t really know about the repetitive content part of the policy. Does it mean in the description listing or does it mean repetitive apps. Lot’s of developers make a free and paid version (repetitive content), but don’t get banned for it, so it’s hard to say.

Well, there is the GO Locker Theme and there are wallpapers which are in a way a “theme” for the screen.

Or you could market it as an add-on theme - that is picked up by your main app (like those keyboard apps - which have separate themes for the keyboard).

But the point about downloads is correct - you will get MORE total downloads by having more apps (and thus more banner ad impressions) than one app with all that functionality.

In a way it is similar to the very phone-specific situation that very complicated apps are less likely to be used (given the huge time put in by the developer) compared to apps which are lightweight and TARGETED to the exact thing the user wants to do while waiting at the dentist’s office.

Some would argue that focusing all your downloads into one app, instead of downloads spread among several apps, will make that app rank higher and therefore a better chance for future downloads.

Yes, this is a point - and MAY work if you have the app in the top 20 or something. I think somewhere I read recently that one app in top 10 earn more than 10 times that at top 100 or something.

However I suspect by the time you are at number 100 the incremental increase in your daily new installs vs. rank (i.e. your position in the ranking) may not be as significant - esp. if you are at number 200 - being at 200 or number 300 may not affect that much if no one scrolls down that far anyway (and most of your downloads are arriving from random searches).

But perhaps if you are in top 100 - maybe there moving up 20 positions may double downloads - in that case it may be beneficial.

Taken to absurd extreme if you have 20 themes - then that gives you 20x the exposure - however you will not get 20x the exposure from ranking if you consolidated all those themes - i.e. most probably the app would be AS less-well known regardless of whether it has 1 theme or 2 themes.

But moving from 1 theme to 2 theme apps will double your exposure.

Your number of downloads affects more than just your ranking in the top apps. It affects your ranking in searches as well I believe. So one app that ranks high in searches for “ninja game” is going to get more downloads than 20 ninja games who show up way down on a search.