This is how it went down in public: Terraria co-creator and Re-Logic CEO Andrew Spinks posted a Twitter thread early Monday morning, accusing Google of suddenly and unjustifiably suspending the studio’s YouTube, Gmail, Drive and Play accounts. He said he had been locked out of 15 years of resources for almost a month, even though he had never broken Google’s rules, and the company refused to clarify the situation.
So, Spinks canceled the Google Stadia edition of Terraria, a beloved indie game from 2011 with an audience of more than 30 million players. Re-Logic had not even announced the Stadia version of Terraria yet, even though rumors had recently hit the bulletin boards, fans were excited about a new way of playing.
I have done absolutely nothing to violate your Terms of Service, so I can not take this in any other way than that you decide to burn this bridge. Consider it burnt. #Terraria for @GoogleStadia has been canceled. My company no longer supports any of your platforms in the future.
̵1; Andrew Spinks (@Demilogic) February 8, 2021
Here’s how it went behind the scenes, as described to Engadget by a Re-Logic spokesperson: In mid-January, the parent account of Re-Logic’s Google services, Demilogic, received a message from YouTube that it was in violation of the site’s policies.
“This was quite confusing for us,” the spokesman said. Developers had not uploaded anything to the Re-Logic YouTube channel in three months, and no one in their community had notified them of new or offensive content on the account.
Google did not immediately suspend the YouTube channel Re-Logic. Instead, the first email read: “We know you may not have understood that this was a violation of our policy, so we are not seeking a strike on your channel. We have removed the content. “It suggested no further action from the studio.
Three days later, the entire Demilogic Google Account was deactivated. This locked the YouTube channel Re-Logic, as well as the studio’s access to Gmail, Google Play and Drive. Over the next few weeks, Spinks tried to solve the problem with Google directly and privately, but repeatedly hit a wall.
“Due to the company’s early days, when Mr. Spinks was the only employee of the company, quite a few older connections to the Demilogic account have been broken,” the spokesman said. This includes the Re-Logic YouTube account, many important documents stored on Drive and much more. The impact is significant, and this has been made clear to Google repeatedly. ”
YouTube has confirmed to the studio that the channel is clean. It is still unclear what the original breach was, or whether the Demilogic account will ever be reactivated.
Which brings us back to Spinks’ Twitter thread.
“My phone has lost access to thousands of dollars of apps on @GooglePlay,” Spinks tweeted. “I had just bought LOTR 4K and can not complete it. My @googledrive data is completely gone. I do not have access to my @Youtube channel. The worst of all is losing access to my @ gmail address in over 15 years. ”
Google did not respond to a request for comment from Engadget.
A Re-Logics spokesman said Spinks’ tweetstorm was a calculated move from a studio out of the options.
“This is not a position we take with pleasure or ease,” they said. “Google has been a longtime partner, but the inability to resolve this for us, an allegedly valued partner, within a time span of almost a month, is not acceptable.”
Embedded in its Terms of Service, Google has broad authority to terminate accounts for anything it considers “abuse”, and it has exercised this power with impunity for years. The company has a history of banning accounts and moving on, leaving users with little information and no opportunity to dispute or address breaches. Re-Logic is just the latest example of this behavior.
“We are aware of many other incidents in a similar direction with a repeated pattern of ‘ban out of the blue’, with no information about the cause and no opportunity,” the studio spokesman said. “This has happened to countless individuals as well as developers for Android and beyond. We hope that our situation serves both as a warning to others, and as a tool to shine a strong spotlight on this problem as a whole. Maybe some meaningful changes on the customer service front will take place in Google as a result. It is badly needed. ”
Terraria hit Android devices via the Play Store in 2013, and it will remain there, despite the studio’s rocky relationship with Google at the moment. The studio spokesman made it clear that Re-Logic will not collaborate with Google on future projects, Terraria-related or otherwise.
“I do not want to be involved in a company that values their customers and partners so little,” Spinks said at the end of his Twitter thread. “Doing business with you is a commitment.”
Stadia, on the other hand, is in the middle of a change. Google closed Stadia’s in-house studios in early February, and one of the star employees, former Assassin’s Creed producer Jade Raymond, left the company. After years of hollow promises and a growing list of dedicated sky gaming competitors, Stadia is on the verge of collapse. Then again, it kind of always felt that way.