Inspired by this recent question:

I cannot download games even though I have a lot of storage. I tried uninstalling my apps but it still did not work.

Is there a way to fix this?

A comment by MrLemon writes:

I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's a problem with Google Play and outside the scope of gaming.

Originally the question appeared to be off-topic because the question was targeting apps, not games. Upon editing the question to mention games specifically, it is not being voted to be re-opened. However my question is, is there a difference? Should this have not been closed originally, or should it remain off-topic?

It seems to me that Google Play Store, as a platform, just happens to serve both apps and games. So while individual apps themselves may be off-topic, the Google Play Store as a platform should be within the scope as this site. However, assuming it isn't off-topic, and based on how some previously-closed questions were later re-opened, is the only difference whether the term "apps" or "games" is used regardless if the context of the question is otherwise the same?

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    Using an argument of, "The platform has games, so we should support it" doesn't sit right with me. Support the games themselves, no issue. But supporting a platform just because we get games on it, not so much. There's a reason it says, "Game-specific hardware and utilities" – Frank Jul 7 '15 at 1:08
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    Good point. Though really, how's it different from Steam or Origin in that regard? I suppose I'm confused about where exactly that line is drawn. – user66184 Jul 7 '15 at 1:10
  • The "game-specific" distinction is still relevant there. Steam and Origin are game stores/platforms. The Google Play Store is an app store. – murgatroid99 Jul 7 '15 at 1:12
  • Steam started out as nothing but games. Origin, I don't know, but I think it has nothing but games. Those make sense. Google Play...I don't know. It's an app store, it's name notwithstanding. – Frank Jul 7 '15 at 1:12
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    Doesn't the Play Store have Achievements, Stats, Profiles and all that other good game-stuff now? I can see questions about those things being on-topic (just like Origin/Steam/UPlay etc). I can't see many of these types of tech-support questions coming to us, but I don't see why we'd make them off-topic here and not similar questions about other platforms. – Robotnik Jul 7 '15 at 2:30
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    @Robotnik No, that is just part of Google Play Games, which, as far as I can tell, is completely separate from the Play Store. They are separate entities. I can't even find a way to access the features of the Google Play Games app in a web browser - it's only in the app. The Play Store clearly fails the gaming specific test. – MBraedley Jul 7 '15 at 10:53
  • Thanks all for your input! – user66184 Jul 7 '15 at 23:02
  • @MBraedley - I stand corrected, I didn't realise they were separate apps – Robotnik Jul 8 '15 at 0:02
  • Probably late, but this reminds me of boat programming meme from SO. In this case, just because there is a keyword "game", doesn't make the question related to gaming issue. For that specific question, the issue is really on Android usage itself, not related to the specific game. – antimo Jul 15 '15 at 9:26

Yes, the (Android) Google Play Store is no different to the (iOS) App Store, the Windows Store, or even Amazon for that matter, and as such, the question was justifiably closed and should have remained closed as off-topic. The Google Play Store does not specialize in games or gaming related apps, it specializes in all types of apps (and music, TV shows, movies, and ebooks), some of which are games or are somehow gaming related. Even if most of the store is gaming related (something which I highly doubt, but have no stats to back up), the simple fact is that the Google Play Store is not gaming specific.

What is on-topic is Google Play Games, the app I mentioned in my above comment that allows users to track game progress including achievements, as well as compare that progress against others on their friends list.

Now some might bring up the fact that similar questions to the one mentioned, but are about Steam would be considered on-topic, but Steam also sells software that aren't games. How is this any different? Well, the non-game software is still gaming related, at least in how it's marketed. Some of it is for game developers, some of it is for game players, but the vast majority of the non-game software is still directly game related. Besides, Steam started out as as service for delivering games and only games, and games vastly (vastly) outnumber non-games, which is not the case for the other stores mentioned above.

What should have happened, IMHO, is that this question should have been closed, and then migrated to Android.SE. That is the proper home of the question, as they are the ones with the proper expertise to answer it.

  • Just nitpicking here, but Steam does sell non-game-related apps now ;) However this is in line with pretty much everyone else's opinion. Thanks all for your input! – user66184 Jul 7 '15 at 23:02
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    @Thebluefish: Read again, I did address that. Also, you're cherry-picking. – MBraedley Jul 7 '15 at 23:24
  • TIL about the term cherry-picking, and that makes a bunch of sense. My apologies, I really should brush up on these sorts of things. All this time spent staring at code has really made my conversation skills take a nose dive. – user66184 Jul 7 '15 at 23:42
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    As per this meta I've flagged the question for potential migration to Android.SE – Robotnik Jul 8 '15 at 0:04
  • If Steam starts offering word processors, does that mean questions about Steam become off-topic? – Ellesedil Jul 14 '15 at 21:36
  • Would it change the fact that Steam would still specialize in the sale of games and game related software? Additionally, I would argue for a grandfather clause be issued to Steam, but to be honest, I don't think it would be necessary for it to ever come to that. – MBraedley Jul 15 '15 at 1:43
  • @Ellesedil yes, if you're asking about word processors sold on Steam. No, if you're asking about game issue related to Steam. Focus on the game, not on the platform. – antimo Jul 15 '15 at 9:30
  • In that case, why is the Google Play store off-topic? – Ellesedil Jul 15 '15 at 11:20
  • @Ellesedil - I'm a gaming enthusiast, I know how to use Steam because of that. I'm not alone - the majority of PC gamers have had some level of experience with Steam, for a long time it was (and still is, to a large extent) the defacto standard gaming platform for PC games. I use an Android phone, however I am not an expert on all things Android, (especially not the Play Store), and it's a fair to assume that the gaming experts here aren't all Android experts. Would you then agree that the Android Enthusiast's Stack is a site better suited for this question? – Robotnik Jul 16 '15 at 2:06
  • @Robotnik: You could make the same argument that questions about Steam should be directed to SuperUser since that's a site dedicated to computer operation. Just because two different SE sites can claim a question falls within their scope isn't a problem. It happens all the time (Stack Overflow and Programmers SE, SciFi and TV & Movies, etc). And the fact that you personally do not have enough experience to consider yourself an expert on the topic is no reason to decide all questions about that subject should be off-topic. – Ellesedil Jul 16 '15 at 2:37
  • @Ellesedil - Super User doesn't (and won't) take Steam questions - Their focus is on core computing for power users. I'm not saying they couldn't help, most likely some of the users there could help with Steam, but they as a community have chosen not to allow those questions. Just as we have chosen not to support the Google Play Store. – Robotnik Jul 16 '15 at 2:40
  • @Robotnik: Really? That seems odd, since there's this very recent meta question asking if a Steam question would be on-topic, and the fact that there's 94 questions tagged with Steam on the site. – Ellesedil Jul 16 '15 at 2:44
  • @ellesedil let me make this abundantly clear: questions about Steam are on topic here because Steam is a games distribution platform (among other things). The answer in that linked meta question says as much. Google Play Store (and iOS app store) isn't, because it is not sufficiently gaming related. I thought I made that clear in my answer. – MBraedley Jul 16 '15 at 2:50
  • Oh, I understand your answer. I asked a question that led us down to here. If Steam starts offering other software like word processors, is Steam still on-topic? Someone said yes, so that prompted follow-up questions. I'm trying to determine exactly how the rules that this answer essentially creates will apply to platforms that decide to expand beyond gaming. – Ellesedil Jul 16 '15 at 2:53
  • @Ellesedil - That's news to me, last I'd heard they redirected Steam questions here. I retract that portion of my statement – Robotnik Jul 16 '15 at 3:46

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