tinydeathstariconHere's some troubling news: it appears that Disney, who acquired Lucasfilm and the Star Wars IP back in 2012, have decided to pull the plug on two popular mobile Star Wars games. Both Tiny Death Star and Star Wars Assault Team have been permanently removed from the App Store so that Disney can "focus on priority titles like the Clash of Clans-like Star Wars Commander" according to a statement given to Game Informer.

Tiny Death Star was a collaboration with Nimblebit, creators of the original Tiny Tower, and at first seemed like it would be a match made in heaven. The Tiny Tower formula applied to the Star Wars license and the ability to build your very own Death Star had major appeal. Unfortunately, the game wasn't quite as great as anyone hoped. The ultra-friendly free to play system that Nimblebit games are known for was made less friendly by Disney, and the game itself was riddled with bugs and performance problems pretty much from the first moment it arrived in the App Store just last November. Despite all that, the game still seemed to be doing well, and was just updated at the beginning of August with performance and bug fixes. It might not have been the runaway success that the original Tiny Tower was, but it certainly didn't seem like Tiny Death Star was in jeopardy of being killed off.

It's important to note that Nimblebit merely acted as consultants on Tiny Death Star, and the game (and its monetization scheme) were actually developed in-house by Disney, which explains why it didn't quite have the same magic. This also leads to possibly the craziest part of this story: Nimblebit was not informed beforehand that Tiny Death Star would be pulled from the App Store. Ian Marsh of Nimblebit tells us "We’d like to apologize to all the Star Wars and Tiny Tower fans affected by the game’s removal. While we received no advance warning, Disney was quick to reach out to us today after the news started hitting online media. I’ve been informed by Disney that Tiny Death Star is being shut down permanently." That's especially awful for Nimblebit because, even though they were in a pretty hands-off position with Tiny Death Star, it was still a source of income for them. Income that was pulled out from under them without any prior warning.

As to what Tiny Death Star fans should do going forward, Marsh has this to say: "We suggest anyone who was enjoying Tiny Death Star check out Tiny Tower Vegas [Free], which isn’t going anywhere anytime soon." Indeed, despite being a pretty big Star Wars fan, I never was able to get into Tiny Death Star. It had all the right ingredients, but something just felt off about it. In comparison, Tiny Tower Vegas has reignited that love I found in the original Tiny Tower back in 2011, and has become a daily habit when playing with my iPhone.

In regards to Star Wars: Assault Team, its untimely demise seems almost more puzzling. The game was only announced in January of this year, and officially launched in late March. It was a collectible card-battling game, which also seems like a perfect fit for the Star Wars IP. However, while I haven't really paid attention to if it was doing well or not, it seems that it at least wasn't doing well enough to keep around after only being around for just five months.

This isn't the first time a Star Wars-branded game has been removed from the App Store. This also happened back in 2011 when Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner and several other THQ-published Star Wars mobile games were all removed from sale after a licensing deal between THQ and Lucasfilm ran out. However, this current situation is much different as it's not due to a licensing problem, rather it's just Disney not feeling it's worth it to keep these games around. And that certainly sucks if you've ever spent any money on these games or enjoyed them in any way.

Should Disney suddenly have a change of heart and decide to bring either of these titles back, we'll let you know (don't hold your breath). In the meantime, I guess, you have Disney's Clash of Clans clone Star Wars: Commander to enjoy, just don't get TOO attached because you never know when Disney might pull the rug out from under one of your favorite games.

  • vicsark

    Lesson learned by players on iOS today : don't invest any dime or time in a Disney Free to play game.
    Well done.

    • Amenbrother

      Right!

    • Ubisububi

      I'd say that's good advice for any F2P game. Even Clash of Clans will eventually vaporize and take all your $$ with it.

      • vicsark

        F2P : Free To Plug

    • Anova

      No kidding, this shouldn't even be legal. Prevent new people from buying, sure, but once you've paid in you should at least be given the chance to re-download before they pull.

      • vicsark

        If you bought It, you may redownload it through your purchases tab in the App Store.

      • jtfields

        If it's been pulled you will not be able to download it again. As long as you don't delete your existing copy from your computer you will be able to install it on your iOS devices. Not that it matters because once they shut down the servers the game won't work anyway.

      • fearlesskk

        Unless you are jailbroken and download a version of the app

      • MichaelQ

        Not true. Even if a game is pulled like this, Apple still makes it available through the Purchased section.

        I was able to download both to my iPad just then.

        And then deleted both as they were crap.

      • Intendro

        Games can vanish from your Purchased apps too... seems they may have to specifically remove them from there?

    • http://www.googlepants.com/ Wizard of Odyssey

      My thoughts exactly. They'll probably keep working if you bought them already though, right?

      • Septim

        I just loaded it and it still works. Although the game was already on my device so I don't know how it goes if you have to re-download it.

  • http://www.tap-start.com/ Mirkwood

    Hopefully this is not a sign of things to come with the SW franchise.

  • OurExistence

    Do you figure they didn't want to spend the money to upgrade the graphics to the new phones ? Or some BS Ret Con thing ?

    • FrehleyzComet

      Ret Con? What's that?

      • Ubisububi

        No! Wait!! Retribution Constitution

      • Ubisububi

        Retirement Conflagration

      • Durduhdur

        Ravenous condors

      • Pray For Death

        It's obviously a convention for rets

      • islesfan

        Retroactive Continuity

      • dancj

        You had to go and ruin it by telling the truth

  • TheNoobOfTheCentury

    F2P online games (especially Disney) are like food. You invest in them, they give enjoyment, then the next day the servers down and its off the store. Theyre both in a way consumed. I hope you understood this stupid tip.

    • toofinedog

      Stop eating?

    • curtisrshideler

      These games eventually turn into crap and you poop them out??

      • TheNoobOfTheCentury

        Yeah, it turns to useless not updated junk that you just delete, like when you poop.

  • hellscaretaker

    glad i downloaded it on to my PC then,,,,means i keep my copy to end of days

    • MasonHurst

      If it relies on a server then you will be keeping a useless file forever... and look, it's Disney, if you are over twelve years old and see this brand on something you're using -well, you're doing it wrong. 😉

  • SanguinousRex

    I guess it shows you that push comes to shove Disney is just like any other big corporation - or in this case - corporate monopoly. Be careful what you like, if it doesn't do as well as the bottom dollar says it should it could disappear. I bet you Walt is shaking his head in disgust.

  • Diaboliq

    Well i wont spend a cent on disney games.. Thanks for the warning!

  • rewind

    Geez, how expensive is it to keep a game running. I like disney, but this juts stings

    • rewind

      *just

  • rewind

    And I don't believe that Nimbelbot got any percentage of the profit. Didn't they just license the Tiny Tower IP (and offer some assistance) and get paid purely for licensing it? Still, they should've at least been notified that the game was being pulled. It's not as if they would've started some huge protest or something like that.

    • mr_bez

      Ian Marsh from Nimblebit told Pocket Gamer that the game was "a significant source of revenue for us, so it stings that much more."

      • rewind

        Oh. Well that sucks. That's just wrong. And it makes me think, if this was a "significant source of revenue" for the Marsh bros, then wasn't it probably still profitable for Disney. And even if they felt that it wasn't very profitable, they should've just abandoned the game but left it on the App Store. They would still earn money, and wouldn't piss anyone off. A win-win for both parties..... When it comes to video games, the company isn't very smart.

      • Xandrak

        It all depends on the structure of the licensing deal. It could be that there was a minimum guarantee from Disney to Nimblebit and that there weren't enough sales to justify that regular payment.

  • Agkelos

    I do wonder how this type of thing fits into the existing laws on consumer rights. Isn't there something in it about if you paid money for it, you should be allow the services except in the case of declared bankruptcies? How is this type of action even legal?

    • rewind

      I don't know. Some new laws for mobile games and online games need to be created. Because this is happening more and more often, and it's not right.

  • KoRoV

    Thx God for removeing this things that embaresing star wars games and licenece!

    • pinOi32

      Lol

  • bitbit

    Disney also shut down and pulled all the Tap Tap Revenge games from the store earlier this year. It used to be the most popular series on the iPhone and now it's just gone

    • rewind

      Wait, so they bought tap-tap revenge and then removed them from the App Store? What?!

      • Skater1405

        They bought TTR several years before pulling it.

  • sivad

    Couldn't they have just asked for a bailout like the rest of businesses around these days?

  • ramon31

    Death Star seems to be in the Australian AppStore. Have Disney had a change of heart?

  • Space Cowboy 01

    change of heart? They probably haven't noticed its there!! There goes the SW saga!!!

  • renaissance247

    Is this only for iOS devices? I have Android and still see it for download in the Google Play Store. I haven't played it since early April, but if it's still playable I might give it another go.

  • AjaxJump

    And this is why IAP Suck. Wonder how many people spent $$$ just for them to remove the game. Bad form Disney.

    • Stormourner

      not everyone spends IAPs ;P

  • Stormourner

    don't forget folks that even premium games gets removed from the appstore

  • Morgan01

    I recall posting a comment warning on my experience with Nimblebit and a botched Christmas update that wiped 18 of my floors. The issue was never fixed and no compensation of any kind for the extensive time maxing out all floors, elevators, costumes, and employees prior to the update. I warned of investing time and money into this then new title. Look where it is now... Not really surprising.

    • Morgan01

      Sorry, it was with Tiny Towers and a botched X-mas update.

  • mnemo70

    I completed the levels in Tiny Death Star some months ago and really enjoyed it. After that I started with Tiny Tower and noticed the many small improvements that TDS made. Tiny Tower Vegas on the other hand needs WAY too much attention and after almost 5 weeks my tower is only 14 stories high. Quite boring.

  • vicsark

    Hey Nimblebit, why don't you buy the TDS assets from Disney and redo a fairer Tiny Death Star? I guess licensing issues would arise though.

  • rabid

    Nimblebit deserved it, they had cranked out far too many games which were far to similar .

  • Jak Constantine

    I hope a petition starts and a law is created so this doesn't happen again. Feel sorry for the people who put time and money into this. Also feel sorry for the staff too.

    Last and mainly FU Disney.

  • RunningWild

    Very concerning and has killed their credibility in my opinion. How can anyone bother to invest the time in their apps when they can vanish at the drop of a hat?

  • Kane

    Walt Disney must be turning in his grave.

  • SeVok

    Pull from the store? Fine, but refund people that bought it earlier.
    If they find it that lacking to remove it from the store, refunding shouldn't be a problem.

  • Zenfar

    I am really bothered by this in general, perhaps apps should now indicate if they require a server sign in to function or if they are self sufficient. That you have to log in to view your content or play your game is a troubling trend and this is how it can end badly.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/PotatoSlaya Potato Slaya

    They pulled it off from microsoft today!

    Also commander is going to be pulled because of purchase issues and punches and player server info and ip's being wiped daily due to a MAJOR bug for nokias and WPs.

  • guy

    Star Wars: Assault Team is over a year old. I was ranked fourth in the world when Disney pulled the plug. Shucks... 🙁

  • guy

    Fourth in the world. 🙂