[Updated] Clone Of IGF Nominated Desktop Dungeons Taken Down From iTunes App Store

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We here at Lazygamer are all very proud of our local game developers QCF Design for their fantastic (now IGF award nominated indie title) Desktop Dungeons.

A short while back we received the heartbreaking news that a small company had cloned the core mechanics of the freely available game-in-progress, renamed it along with some new graphics and then released the title as their own on the iTunes app store.

We now have the breaking news that the Desktop Dungeons clone has been taken down from the app store, which as you can imagine, came as great news to the small development team at QCF Design.

We contacted QCF Design for their thoughts on the ordeal. Catch them after the jump.

QCF were very disheartened by the recent ordeal, with Legal letters were sent, Apple was contacted, words were exchanged and a feature was even written up on the whole debacle by EDGE magazine. The major issue at hand was that while it was clear that the game was a clone, there was little that could be done legally.

QCF Design member Danny Day also recently posted up an article on their company blog title Getting cloned and not looking like a douchebag in which he is quoted in the introduction as saying:

“I have very few emotional parallels to what it feels like find out that your game is being cloned. It’s an extremely difficult thing to explain how your creative joy turns into sheer anger and undermines the hope that keeps you doing this every day.”

The accused cloner Eric Farraro is quoted in a forum post on Touch Arcade as saying:

“I actually received a letter from Apple/their lawyer asking me to remove the game the sale. I have not done so yet, but I anticipate that I will unfortunately have to in the very near term. Even though I think I’m safe from a legal standpoint, I don’t have the resources to fight it legally on principle.

Not the outcome I wanted, but that’s how it goes sometimes.”

My own logic would suggest that Eric Farraro cloning the core mechanics of Desktop Dungeons wasn’t exactly the outcome that QCF Design wanted either and in this case it looks like they will still get the chance to work hard and release their game without having to deal with any clones stealing their audience.

We contacted QCF Design for their thoughts on the recent events and here is what they had to say:

“We’re happy to hear the clone is down. We don’t think it’s right to profit off of somebody else’s work. We did ask the cloner to change his game enough to make it unique. It sucks that he refused, and forced us to take legal action.

People keep quoting the ‘huge number of clones’ on the app store, as if the fact that it happens makes it ‘ok’. We really hope that this gets people to think about the long-term impact of this sort of thing: If people didn’t clone games, you’d have more new ideas and more developers would survive their first release.”

They make some very valid points with regards to cloning and its long-term impacts. QCF Design will also be updating their websites blog soon with an official response about the whole ordeal and more of their thoughts.

On that note, we wish them all the best for the IGF awards and hope that Desktop Dungeons kicks some serious ass. We all can’t wait to play the finished product.

[Update] Here is the official QCF blog post

Last Updated: January 14, 2011

Nick De Bruyne

Video games writer, editor and critic since '08. Living and breathing video games, movies and cars since the 80s. Follow me on Twitter if you love tons of gaming talk, and @pennyworthrevs for fun stuff and links.

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