Cloning is a real thing, especially in the indie gaming world. When it’s derivative and takes games to a new level, developers don’t really mind. But when you outright steal someone’s game, it’s a major problem. One developer is accusing a publisher of doing just that, and I’m inclined to believe him.
The story revolves around the publisher who already have a major strike against them. Ketchapp, a prominent iOS game developer and publisher, had a notorious hit with their Threes clone, 2048. Lacking any of the charm of the original, tons of people played 2048, bringing up the same old questions about cloning and intellectual property.
Now, Matt Akins was aware of this and probably should have been more wary. However, he clearly was hoping to get wider acclaim for his latest creation, Rotable. Ketchapp and other studios it owns seemed to be able to offer exposure for his game. Instead, they seemingly stole his design and published it as Circle Pong! – a game that made it to number 12 on the Top Free App Store charts in the US. You can read his full account of how his game was stolen and what it means, and we can debate what the other side of the story may be. However, it highlights just how easy it is to steal games from indie developers.
Without the financial and associated legal power of AAA studios, indies are often left without any recourse. But it’s not just when developers seek out publishers that this can happen – all too often indies are desperate for attention and send review codes and keys to all and sundry. Publishers can easily get their hands on these and clone the titles for their own gain. The world of game development is seedy and underhanded. It makes me sad to hear these stories – without developers willing to try new things and make new games, we will never get to play those titles that we might truly love. It’s sad to think how many similar stories like this one go untold, how many developers have simply walked away after getting burned like this.
Last Updated: April 29, 2015