Follow up: Attack of the Clones

On the podcast this week we spent a good portion of the show talking about the mobile games market, and specifically, the cloning of popular games. I am not a fan of mobile games, equating most of them to Facebook apps, which I detest. Yeah, I block apps and friends from sending more invites. I don’t want to have anything to do with that garbage.

I will acknowledge that cloning is a problem though. The developers of mobile games might eventually graduate to more traditional formats, so they might eventually make something I would prefer to play. But that won’t happen if their initial forays into the gaming market get buried under piles of clones, and the clones themselves are getting more recognition/money out of the deal. In the interest of the future of those devs, it’s time for a change.

On the show, I proposed a governing body that would be hired to filter out the clones from the real games. We discussed this at length, so I won’t go into particulars here. If you haven’t listened to the latest show, you might want to get to it! Come back here when you’re done. I’ll wait.

Oh good,  you’re back. So as I was saying, we discussed potential solutions to the problem. One of the suggestions was that more employees be hired by the respective companies (hey, we’re creating jobs here!) so that the good content can be filtered from the bad. A further suggestion was for the companies that have mobile stores (Apple, Google, Microsoft) to implement a system where developers can make a claim against the clones to have them removed. This seems to make more sense, because with the flood of apps these stores get per day, it would be rather tedious to filter them effectively. This would at least bring the issue to the parent company’s attention, and further action could take place.

It appears that the problem is widespread enough to cover all three markets. Threes! was our major example, but just a few days ago, a new game by the creator of Flappy Bird, called “Swing Copters” was released, and within 24 hours a large number of clones appeared as well. The cloners are becoming more efficient it seems.

This has not gone unnoticed. Surprisingly, neither of the options we considered were the one that was used. It seems that Google at least (always a leader) has taken matters into their own hands, removing a bunch of the clones. This is obviously not a perfect fix, and just the beginning of the work needed to clear the filth from these marketplaces. But at least someone is taking notice. A small victory for the little guys.

I still think a plan like we suggested is in order to prevent this from getting to be an even bigger problem, but it’s admirable that Google has taken some measure in curbing it.

#blaugust #clones #mobile

4 responses to “Follow up: Attack of the Clones

  1. there really are some great titles on mobile. I’ve mainly just gotten games from a humble mobile bundle for it because I don’t seem to play that much on it but if you do look there are a wealth of awesome games out there…it’s just the piles of crap they’re buried under to worry about first

    • I just haven’t seen any worth my time. That isn’t to say they aren’t out there, I’ve just written them off. Maybe one day that will change.

  2. I listened to the cast (another good one!) And agree that these things are often best crowd-policed (users know faster than organizations often) with a board of “officials” making the final call on things brought forward.

    The clone companies will stop cloning if their efforts are profitless.

    I also agreed with Doone that you have to protect the developer that spends a year making the game vs the clone who spends a week copying it. Without the first developer you don’t get that winning idea worth copying.

    Also as an aside – on android your podcast is not updating – I had to download it directly. I know you made a change recently so perhaps it just hasn’t been updated across the interwebs yet.

    • Yeah we switched to Libsyn, but due to limits on uploads per month, I’ve only got from episode 6 on up available on that service. I will get the rest up as the months go on. Stitcher and iTunes have been updated with the new RSS feed, but I’m not sure if they are all 100% just yet. Hopefully within a month it will all be sorted out.

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