PayPal can't seem to be able to differentiate between legal commerce and nefarious activity taking place in its service. For the third time in recent memory the leader in virtual currency has frozen the account of an indie developer over the money it has generated for making and selling a game. Game developer Goldhawk Interactive says that PayPal has locked down around $4,300 because its account has generated a lot of funds in a very short amount of time. While the money won’t shut down the development of its X-Com-like game Xenonauts, the company says that all the bells and whistles that it wanted to include may be off the table.
"There's enough left in our corporate bank account to get the game finished," designer Chris England wrote on the Xenonauts site. "Whether we'll be able to implement all the 'nice-to-have' features on that budget (such as our new UI style) remains to be seen, but we'll be able to complete it to the original spec on the funds we currently have.
However, losing our only source of income is obviously going to be disruptive to the project, as we were getting a good source of income from pre-orders up to this point," England said. "It's also not the ideal way to mark the start of my full-time work on the project. However, I'll keep you guys posted on how things turn out."
This is not the first time PayPal has flagged a game developer's account for generating a lot of money from sales. In September of last year PayPal froze the account of Minecraft maker Mojang because they generated $750,000 in sales. The makers of Project Zomboid had their account locked in May for much the same reason.
This is just speculation, but maybe this has less to do with PayPal and more with some sort of Homeland security edict about large funds being funneled through services such as PayPal. We honestly don't know the reasons for these lockdowns, but we do know that when this happens it can have a devastating effect on a small developer.. Not giving users some sort of notice seems wrong. If PayPal really wants entrepreneurs to use their services they need to get better at communicating with them when there's a problem such as this. People will understand more if they know what's going on and get some sort of due process.