Saturday, March 29, 2014

App Store Cloning and Moaning

Cloning on the App Store is appalling. Flappy Bird clones appeared pretty much immediately and spread their filth all over the place. Now the developers of Threes are complaining about cloning.

But it's not every popular game that gets cloned. There are still tons of very successful games on the App Store which haven't been cloned. So what's the difference ?

In a nutshell the odds of your game being cloned seem to follow this equation:

Success / Complexity

Games that make no money don't get cloned. Neither do games that are really complex to develop. But, make a successful, simple to develop game and you're doomed to be cloned.

So, going back to Threes, they made a couple of bad mistakes. First they made a game which was very easy to copy - a 2D swipey puzzler with minimal graphics. Second they also charged money for it, when the clones will just go free and live off ad revenue.

It's no surprise Three's was cloned really. It's a shame for the devs, but when you look at the game I find it hard to see where their 18 months development effort went. The clones got the same game running in under two weeks. Apple couldn't give a fig either way, since they're making money from original and clones.

I suppose the message is this... don't make simple games and you won't get cloned.

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