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Thousands of indie android devs on the brink of extinction after Play store changes visibility algorithm rules

On June 21st, hundreds of small, independent Android game developers started observing a decrease in new daily installs across their games published on the Play store. By Monday morning, most of them lost from 80% to 90% of new organic traffic.

The purpose of this blog post is to drive awareness about an unprecedented change in the play store visibility algorithm.

Starting with Thursday, June 21st, hundreds of small, independent Android game developers started observing a decrease in new daily installs across their games published on the Play store. At first, it looked like a normal fluctuation, that happens now and then. By Monday morning, most of them lost from 80% to 90% of new organic traffic. They are now all in the same boat, that is about to sink.

Here's what devs are saying:

peanutbutterlabs "We have the same story. Overall accounts was at more than 80k downloads per day. Now it's below 5k and still getting worse day by day. I If this stays we'll all have to let go of our teams and shutdown our companies!"

Butterbean21 "We too, have been doing apps for almost 10 years now, and spoke to another developer who has been doing apps since around 2010, and we have NEVER in the history of google play, or any appstore, seen a significant drop like this. This is not a normal downtrend in organic installs - this is a significant drop, by over 80% in many of our top performing apps, and a very scary scenario."

Jenzo83 "This is definitely no normal fluctuation. We've been in the store for 4 years now. And we've never seen drops of 80-90% on all games at the same time. Not even close to what is happening now!"

snoutup "I'm here to get emotional support. Looks like I got it easy with "only" 70% drop in downloads, but ad-revenue from Google Play releases was my main source of income, so things are not looking good now."

llliorrr "We have more than 30 apps and it happened(80% drop) to 28 of them and we didn't update most of them. The rest 2 almost doubled themselves. something happens to google play."

Whether this is a glitch in the Play store visibility algorithm or a change made on purpose by Google is yet to be seen.

Google has not made any public announcement on this issue, nor has given a clear answer to any of us through their support department.

For all the fellow developers that are facing the same issue:
- A developer group has been established on Discord at:
https://discord.gg/5Hny2Xy
- There is a thread over Unity forums about this issue, as well:
https://forum.unity.com/threads/sudden-drop-in-number-of-daily-installs-on-google-play-store.537467/

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