I went over what’s changed in the latest update to the Xbox Live web dashboard – the site where Spark gets all of its information, and it looks like more than just beacons have disappeared. The Achievements screen, which ordinarily contained a lot of useful information used to optimize achievement tracking has been completely stripped of all but game title, box art and achievements/points earned. Last played, Total achievements, Total points, and several other key pieces of data are missing – without these, Spark becomes little more than a simple web client.
For instance, the Total achievements count was used to detect games that could potentially be removed from the games list, and to determine whether or not achievements need to be updated. Without this count, achievements need to be constantly refreshed, since the app would never detect new DLC releases.
The amount of change necessary to get the app hobbling along again amounts to all but a complete rewrite – at the end of which would emerge a barely usable Spark 360.
For this reason, I finally removed Spark 360 from the Google Play store. It may still be available for a few hours, but it should eventually disappear. As of August 29, 2014, there have been 107,543 downloads of the app - it went live November 15th, 2010 (here’s the post that announced its release), which makes it around 3 months shy of 4 years old. Spark started on version 1.6 of Android – it remained backwards compatible with 1.6 until the end.
So where does this leave things? Spark’s source code is still at GitHub and available for anyone who’d like to continue working on it – though with the latest changes to the portal there are fewer than ever reasons to do so. Microsoft has had an official client on Android for a while now, so if you haven’t tried it yet, now may be a good time.
To all of you who supported the app by paying for it or even writing comments, thank you. The popularity of this app far surpassed my expectations, and I’m very grateful to have been involved with it, even if my involvement diminished with time.