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Ed Welch

Rampant App Store game cloning goes unchecked

7 posts in this topic

I discoved a company called "GameDream Ltd" cloned both my game, Armageddon Wars and Navy Warfare Officer. The games are cloned nearly exactly. Even the description and screenshots are the same. Take a look:
Armageddon Wars: http://itunes.apple.com/app/armageddon-wars/id373383488?mt=8
Armed Tank's Tactic (clone): http://itunes.apple.com/app/armed-tanks-tactic/id546268826?mt=8

Looking further into it, I found that GameDream Ltd is only part of a massive Asian game cloning factory.
There are dozen of sister companies registered by the same people, each one in turn, is cloning games on the App Store. In total, I found 8 more cloned games, by 3 companies (before I got tired of it, realising how huge the rat's nest really is).
This is in fact being going on for a long time, there are in fact many, many more cloned apps that have been pulled. If Apple pulls an app by this crowd, they just submit another with a slightly different name.


Of coarse, I've contacted Apple, but you know Apple, they are hard to get through.
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You think you have it bad. [url="http://sv.reddit.com/r/gaming/comments/yc02l/some_company_in_china_stole_my_game/"]Read this[/url] which was on reddit the other day. They've gotten really good at reverse engineering games.
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Yeah. In fairness to Apple, they removed the offending Apps pretty quickly. The problem is that the scam continues to operate in the App Store
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Its an unfortunate and well-known problem. Hell, Zynga and PopCap are all but built on this strategy and they're well-known companies operating in US borders. It's shameless.

I worry about the slippery slope of intellectual property law invading the games industry -- the last thing we need is patents on game mechanics -- but I think we could certainly use stronger protection of the complete expression of a game. However, even if there were such strong protections, bigger publishers will always be able to prey upon innovators by changing things *just enough* to skirt the issue and force the victim into a lawsuit they can't afford to see through.

The gatekeepers (Apple, Google, Microsoft) can help govern by holding the actual entities accountable, but that kind of detailed investigation is difficult at scale.
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[quote name='Ed Welch' timestamp='1346607445' post='4975778']
I discoved a company called "GameDream Ltd" cloned both my game, Armageddon Wars and Navy Warfare Officer. The games are cloned nearly exactly. Even the description and screenshots are the same. Take a look:
Armageddon Wars: [url="http://itunes.apple.com/app/armageddon-wars/id373383488?mt=8"]http://itunes.apple....d373383488?mt=8[/url]
Armed Tank's Tactic (clone): [url="http://itunes.apple.com/app/armed-tanks-tactic/id546268826?mt=8"]http://itunes.apple....d546268826?mt=8[/url]

Looking further into it, I found that GameDream Ltd is only part of a massive Asian game cloning factory.
There are dozen of sister companies registered by the same people, each one in turn, is cloning games on the App Store. In total, I found 8 more cloned games, by 3 companies (before I got tired of it, realising how huge the rat's nest really is).
This is in fact being going on for a long time, there are in fact many, many more cloned apps that have been pulled. If Apple pulls an app by this crowd, they just submit another with a slightly different name.


Of coarse, I've contacted Apple, but you know Apple, they are hard to get through.
[/quote]

It seems that the clone of your game is gone allready atleast so for us who missed it, did they just modify your app to change the name and re-upload it or did they go through the trouble of making their own nearly identical game ?
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[quote name='SimonForsman' timestamp='1347020357' post='4977589']
It seems that the clone of your game is gone allready atleast so for us who missed it, did they just modify your app to change the name and re-upload it or did they go through the trouble of making their own nearly identical game ?
[/quote]
What they did is take my game package, remove the copyright protection, decompile it, rebuild and submit that to Apple as their own game.
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Doesn't the DMCA provide the process for dealing with copyright infringement in the US?

(As for getting through to them, surely ignoring a DMCA takedown would be extremely serious.)

[quote name='Ravyne' timestamp='1347019986' post='4977583']
I worry about the slippery slope of intellectual property law invading the games industry -- the last thing we need is patents on game mechanics -- but I think we could certainly use stronger protection of the complete expression of a game. However, even if there were such strong protections, bigger publishers will always be able to prey upon innovators by changing things *just enough* to skirt the issue and force the victim into a lawsuit they can't afford to see through.[/quote]The OP seems to be talking about straightforward copyright infringement, and not making a "clone". I would disagree with needing stronger protections for "complete expression" (not even sure what that needs). The bigger publishers would then just use those against smaller publishers or individuals, as whatever new game you tried to make would be deemed to infringe on some "expression" of some game in their large portfolio of games (possibly some game made 20 years ago by a company they bought out).

[quote]The gatekeepers (Apple, Google, Microsoft) can help govern by holding the actual entities accountable, but that kind of detailed investigation is difficult at scale.[/quote]And I worry about having a few large companies as "gatekeepers" in the first place.
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