Andrew Spinks is the primary developer behind the hit indie survival game Terraria. He’s the founder of Re-Logic, the development studio that created Terraria, and this studio was planning on bringing Terraria to Stadia, but this may have changed thanks to Google locking Spinks out of his Google account. You see, Google sent Spinks a ToS warning for a YouTube violation, which was ignored thinking it was sent in error, and so Google did what is does best and banned Spinks’ account for this violation, which has caused Spinks to hit back by announcing that the Stadia version of Terraria will no longer happen.
@Google my account has now been disabled for over 3 weeks. I still have no idea why, and after using every resource I have to get this resolved you have done nothing but given me the runaround.
— Andrew Spinks (@Demilogic) February 8, 2021
Late last night Andrew Spinks revealed in a series of tweets that his Google account had been banned for going on three weeks, and that he had been trying for weeks to find someone at Google that could help, but of course came up empty handed. It’s a familiar story, but this one is a little less clear thanks to a ToS warning that was sent for a YouTube violation. It would appear Spinks saw and chose to ignore this warning since he hadn’t uploaded a new YouTube video in months, leaving him confused as to why he would receive this warning in the first place. Ignoring this warning was clearly a mistake, because as we can see Google went through with the account ban, and as we all know, overturning a ban is difficult unless you get the public on your side, which is how things are playing out right now.
I absolutely have not done anything to violate your terms of service, so I can take this no other way than you deciding to burn this bridge. Consider it burned. #Terraria for @GoogleStadia is canceled. My company will no longer support any of your platforms moving forward.
— Andrew Spinks (@Demilogic) February 8, 2021
As you can imagine, Spinks was more than likely frustrated with the entire situation, and so he has stated he no longer plans to bring Terraria to Stadia since it’s a Google-controlled platform. Whether or not he retains the ability to do so remains to be seen (are contracts involved, etc.), but the sentiment is hard to ignore. What’s interesting about this is that it’s one of the first times I’ve seen someone hit Google back after a ban, and better yet, Spinks and Terraria actually have the clout to back up this threat since Terraria has a larger following than Stadia. After all, Terraria is a ten year old indie darling with a large cult following, so if it’s possibly not coming to Stadia anymore, this could be a loss for the platform.
So far there’s no word if Google will reinstate Spinks’ account, but with the current press coverage making the rounds, I’m sure Google will finally get around to providing some actual customer service. Of course, there’s a larger problem at play here. The fact that Google can so easily ban anyone’s account, cutting users off from the very utilities often required to make a living online, such as YouTube and Gmail, makes it pretty clear the company needs to change how it handles these account bans. Relying on bots is utterly untenable, and yet there are no signs that Google is willing to change its destructive ways. So yeah, even if you’ve created one of the most popular indie games in the last decade, you still have to live in fear that your Google account could get banned at any time. Sure, this scenario is proof-positive that ignoring a ToS warning from Google is always a bad idea, even when that warning is made up of extremely vague language (and let’s be honest, they almost always are). Google isn’t playing around, but for once, it would appear the tables have turned nicely, and so we have a developer on our hands that also isn’t playing.
Have no fear, Terraria will continue to exist on the Play Store
After yesterday’s events unfolded, it was unclear if Andrew Spinks (and, in extension, Re-Logic) would continue to support the Play Store version of Terraria. Thankfully IGN has reported on a follow-up email from Re-Logic that confirms the studio has no plans on dropping support for the Android version of Terraria. Of course, the studio has also confirmed that it will not be bringing any new games to Google platforms moving forward, so it’s clear Terraria still won’t be coming to Stadia, which means Spinks is sticking to his guns.
So if you were worried that Spinks’ feud with Google would force Re-Logic to drop support for the Android version of Terraria, worry no more. The developer has made it clear the Play Store version will remain unimpacted by this dispute.