If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Google Play temporarily pulls Threes! for listing copycat game 2048 as search keyword

Doesn't add up.

Hit mobile puzzler Threes was removed from Google Play last night for listing the game 2048, widely seen as Threes clone, as a search keyword.

Threes creator Asher Vollmer reported that his game had been pulled from sale around 11.30pm UK time last night.

"Google has bots that crawl over their store and look for instances of 'keyword stuffing' [that] then automatically take down the app," Vollmer told Engadget. "You then have to appeal to get the app back on the store, which can take two to three days.

"I want Google to rely on humans and not on robots to make these decisions. I want Google Play to at least issue warnings before they take these kinds of actions.... This was a completely tone-deaf move."

Google Play (and the Apple App Store) are flooded with copycat versions of Threes.

2048, arguably the most popular clone of all, is available for free while Threes costs a small amount to download (it's currently in a sale for £1.49).

Threes originated first and, upon its release, was quickly copied countless times. Hundreds of these clones still exist on the various App Stores.

For his part, the creator of 2048 has claimed that his game was inspired by other Threes clones and not the original game, which he has said he was completely unaware of at the time that 2048 launched.

Regardless, Vollmer quickly brought Threes' disappearing act to Google Play's attention - aided by his army of Twitter followers. Four hours later, Threes was back on Google Play.

A simple but devilishly addictive puzzler, Threes! earned itself an Essential stamp of approval in Eurogamer's review, and was also Wes' pick in our Games of 2014 series.

Topics in this article

Follow topics and we'll email you when we publish something new about them.  Manage your notification settings .

About the Author
Tom Phillips avatar

Tom Phillips


Tom is Eurogamer's Editor-in-chief. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and makes sure we put the accent on Pokémon.

Eurogamer.net logo

Buy things with globes on them

And other lovely Eurogamer merch in our official store!

Explore our store
Eurogamer.net Merch