Apple has recently done a very good thing for developers (particularly indie) recently by removing quite a few copycat games from their app store. All of these games were reportedly developed by one developer, Anton Sinelnikov, and were obvious to be clones by the name alone. Plant Vs Zombie (Plants Vs Zombies ripoff), Angry Ninja Birds (elaboration of Angry Birds), and Temple Jump (Temple Run) are just three of the titles ripped off from various developers. Before the purge of these copycats, this developer had 68 apps available for purchase; now they have only nine.
Temple Jump in particular saw notable success on the app store; climbing to the top of the paid app chart (according to TechCrunch). Developer of Temple Run, Imangi, commented that part of the clone’s success was likely fans of the original app buying the clone thinking it was a spin-off or something.
This instance is not the only one that has been happening as of late regarding game clones. Recently, popular social and mobile gaming company Zynga has been accused of copying two apps that were already on the marketplace. Developer Spry Fox has sued publisher 6waves Lolapps for lifting ideas from their game Triple Town. It’s all a bunch of “he said, she said,” but it’s bound to happen in this day and age when ideas are running thin.
Luckily in this instance Apple has acted to remove these obvious clones. Usually, eliminating clones isn’t an easy process. Beyond submitting user reviews and comments on the app store proper, not much can be done to get the clones removed. Imangi co-founder Natalia Luckyanova notes that placing the responsibility of identifying clone apps cannot be left up to Apple; as it would make the review process for accepting apps too complex. “I don’t think there’s a perfect solution, because you need human judgement involved in the system. The platform holder can’t realistically police copyright violations, or just misleading apps. As developers, we sign an agreement saying that we have obtained all the IP permissions necessary for our work, so that responsibility is on the developer,” she said.
[Image via Imangi]