31 Comments
Posted by ch3burashka

Really interested in this conversation, so interested I'm commenting before listening. Cloning games, especially in the mobile sphere, is such a clusterfuck that doesn't seem to have a solution.

Posted by Hassun

I find it hard to believe so many people still publish on mobile unless they're just there for a cash grab.

It seems masochistic to do so with any artistic intent.

Posted by heatDrive88

@hassun: That's kind of a narrow and overly-cynical way to look at it.

Edited by BigD145

Only a perfect clone is a perfect copy. Clones can come out looking different. At the very least you can change the hairstyle but it's still the same hair on the same head. If you poke an eye out it's still a clone.

There are plenty of examples of youtube videos with millions of views on the original and someone has copied it bit for bit onto their account and they have 10 or 100 thousand views. The original still exists. Someone is just farming views by very directly copying a video.

Posted by Rhythm

Cloning's a tricky one. On the one hand it's blatantly trying to ride an easy cash wave but on the other it's totally legit and absolutely should remain so. To suggest otherwise would lead down a very difficult legal path of judging games by "look and feel". Taking core concepts developed by others is an essential part of game development and evolution, but when simple games are hitting mobile and they only subsist on one such concept then it stands to reason that direct clones are going to appear more obvious and much more brazen

Posted by Hailinel

@hassun: It's an easy platform to publish for because there's almost no oversight. You could publish just about anything and get away with it. The problem won't be resolved until Apple and other mobile platforms institute actual quality control to prevent their app stores from being flooded with shit.

Posted by bhelyer

The thing with Threes! is that it's purely mechanics + presentation. Even if GTA V was as easy to clone, it still has a lot of content. I feel for the authors, but in the end I don't think the people (that didn't just straight up rip off the 'look and feel' of threes) did anything morally wrong. Game mechanics can't belong to people, I feel that way in my bones.

And it's easy for me to say that, not having sunk effort into it; but I feel that the alternative (to give creators tighter controls on mechanics) is unconscionable. Certainly, making money from simpler games on a market where paying for things is falling out of favour is difficult, and it's a problem that I don't really have a solution for, unfortunately.

Edited by pocketroid

Patrick should be the one who shows the world what a roguelike really is instead of dancing around it during every mention.

Online
Posted by patrickklepek

Patrick should be the one who shows the world what a roguelike really is instead of dancing around it during every mention.

The irony of this would be delicious, and I've thought about it.

Posted by Hassun

@heatdrive88: Perhaps. It's just that the cloning and cashgrabbing is so rampant that it must really hurt creators like this man who had an idea and spent a lot of time and effort into making something.

Posted by Ioan-Alexandru

@hailinel said:

@hassun: It's an easy platform to publish for because there's almost no oversight. You could publish just about anything and get away with it. The problem won't be resolved until Apple and other mobile platforms institute actual quality control to prevent their app stores from being flooded with shit.

Dint Gabe say they want to make Steam into a self publishing system? Seeing how much shovelware comes there lately, I wonder how long it will take until PC gaming is seen as such.

Edited by frythefly
Posted by jarowdowsky

Anyone remember the details of Great Giana Sisters on the Amiga? Was that sued under copyright by Nintendo and did it steal specific assets?

Trying to remember things is hard.

Edited by revel

I would like to see this discussion taken further and involving more people. Even like a panel of 5 people with moderation would be great. Something missing here was that there was no real talk about "time". Everything gets cloned and copied but usually people don't care so much if the pioneer got rich first. For instance ID Software did really well and got credit and money for their work.

Also I was surprised at how it stuck within games. I think there is a ton of great examples outside of games, especially in music. NWA clones. Nirvana clones. Also a game will come out with music in it that is catchy and then another indie game will "rip off" the music right away. It might not be the same exact song but you actually think it was made by the original person. The shitty feeling comes when the original person didn't even have time to get recognition for his/her work before it was aped.

Copying/Inspiration/Cloning seem to be all different things and they seem all to be subject to emotion and interpretation. Usually it comes down to people feeling bad about something vs feeling ok. Those feelings are impossible to quantify... which is probably why i'd like to see a bigger/longer discussion.

Edited by Amafi

If a 19 year old kid can clone your game over a weekend while teaching himself programming and his product becomes more popular than yours, yeah, I could see that stinging a bit.

And clones is as old as video games. Ms Pacman was an unlicensed clone at first, right? People cloned the FUCK out of each others arcade stuff, including cloning hardware.

Making publishing so easy and the tools for making stuff so available will obviously lead to a lot more clones, and I don't really think there's a good way of stopping it unless there's actual stealing of assets or code.

Posted by IcyEyes

I think "clones" can be best described as games that seek to mimic others simply to exploit their popularity for monetary gain, with little or no effort put into them. It's really the purpose of the game that defines whether it is a "clone" or not. For example; most people would not consider Terraria a clone of Minecraft because it evolves the formula in a lot of meaningful ways. In other words, it's not just a cheap knockoff.

The only thing that can ever combat the success of cheap knockoffs is consumer awareness.

Posted by sqrabbit

@patrickklepek I don't see the difference between "like-game-x" and "store-brand-coke". Store-brand coke is a knock-off/clone of the original. People end up buying both for a multitude of reasons. iTunes is basically the supermarket that sells both right next to each other. I get that 1-4 people made/make a game like this, and it sucks that they don't see more revenue than they would if these clones never existed, but if Coca-Cola was a company with 1-4 employees, would you feel the same if the store-brand coke was taking money away from Coca-Cola?

It's not like nobody bought Threes. I did from word of mouth, and didn't even know about the clones until people started writing articles about the clones. Same thing with Ridiculous Fishing.

Please explain to me why this discussion needs to go so deep.

Posted by cassus

I think THIS is going to become part of what sites like this has to keep people informed about. Much like how reviews guide us away from shitty games, these sites should keep an eye out for what is essentially forgeries. Sliding scale between plagiarism and "inspired by", so the information would have to reflect that.
Flat out stolen -- -- clearly riding the wave of attention of game X -- -- blabla --- inspired by
something like that. Recently got an iDevice again, and shiiiit, the app store has gone completely insane the past year and a half. Jungle in there.

Edited by tourgen

Implementations of an idea have value. If an implementation of your idea can be completed in a weekend by a rank amateur that equals your implementation in value in every respect... maybe that should teach you a lesson?

Yeah maybe a hard lesson to learn so learn it now, learn it young.

Posted by Gareff

Is it bad that I am playing 2048 whilst listening to this? :/

Posted by face15

"Greg Wohlwend is the co-creator of Threes, and it's not the first to deal with the complexities of the mobile world."

That is the most nonsensical sentence I've ever seen. So dumb.

Edited by Hailinel

@hailinel said:

@hassun: It's an easy platform to publish for because there's almost no oversight. You could publish just about anything and get away with it. The problem won't be resolved until Apple and other mobile platforms institute actual quality control to prevent their app stores from being flooded with shit.

Dint Gabe say they want to make Steam into a self publishing system? Seeing how much shovelware comes there lately, I wonder how long it will take until PC gaming is seen as such.

In some ways, it's on its way there. Steam is becoming populated with an abundance of "early access" games that are more or less just broken games in alpha states (if that), asking consumers to bet their money on the notion that one day, these half-finished products will be fully featured, polished games. Some of these have turned out all right, that much is true, but for every success story, there seems to be a dozen or more with a "take the money and run" mentality. If Steam were to become a self-publishing platform with the same level of general oversight as exists today, I fear that it risks collapsing in on itself.

Posted by xbob42

@hailinel said:

@hassun: It's an easy platform to publish for because there's almost no oversight. You could publish just about anything and get away with it. The problem won't be resolved until Apple and other mobile platforms institute actual quality control to prevent their app stores from being flooded with shit.

Dint Gabe say they want to make Steam into a self publishing system? Seeing how much shovelware comes there lately, I wonder how long it will take until PC gaming is seen as such.

"Quality control" doesn't prevent bad games coming to any platform. 90% of games on ANY platform are fucking GARBAGE. Quality control in this scenario doesn't prevent "shit" games, it prevents people from releasing copyright infringing material.

Posted by warthurton

@patrickklepek There is a (respected) online training company offering "Make Your Own 2048" course https://www.udacity.com/course/ud248

Posted by Mr_Creeper
@rhythm said:

Cloning's a tricky one. On the one hand it's blatantly trying to ride an easy cash wave but on the other it's totally legit and absolutely should remain so. To suggest otherwise would lead down a very difficult legal path of judging games by "look and feel". Taking core concepts developed by others is an essential part of game development and evolution, but when simple games are hitting mobile and they only subsist on one such concept then it stands to reason that direct clones are going to appear more obvious and much more brazen

I can totally agree with this. I would worry about gaming going down the path of smartphones and all these "patent wars" that are constantly going on if the regulations we put on cloning/building off of other people's work were too strict.