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"The 2048 guys stole my iPhone game" - article about Ketchapp (iOS)

Garrett Hawke

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Jan 24, 2014
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Article on medium.com, a really interesting read.
https://medium.com/ios-game-development/the-2048-guys-stole-my-iphone-game-5ba541283c4d
But then they fucking stole my game.

They didn’t even steal it a little bit. They stole it a lot. Everything from the concept to the design to the mediocre gameplay. The only thing that they changed was the control scheme — which they made far shittier than mine. Maybe that was the Ketchapp fun I was missing!

I submitted Rotable to them back in late-October. And by early December, Circle Pong! had mysteriously found its way onto the top of the App Store charts without my approval or an agreement with the only publisher I submitted to (Ketchapp) in place.
Ketchapp is an iOS publisher that releases "freemium" games seemingly every few weeks. You may have noticed them due to the fact that they always seem to have at least one game in the Top 20 Free on the App Store. This wouldn't be the first time they've just outright taken someone's game or idea or even aesthetic and just crammed it into a F2P wrapper.

Some examples:

Threes -> 2048
Monument Valley -> Skyward
Flappy Bird -> most of their games

It's awful that they get away with it and the worst part is, Apple often feature their games on the front page. They're so creatively bankrupt and yet they're often making more money than those who created the original game (the Threes team were incredibly upset about 2048, as their game was a premium app - 2048 was free, meaning that people obviously flocked to it rather than the original).

I searched "Ketchapp" and couldn't find anything, but mods pls lock if old.
 

georly

Member
Apr 23, 2013
14,065
1
410
Holy crap. He actually sent them his game for them to publish it... and they stole it instead? After telling him they thought his game sucked!? Holy crap. There's no way they can get away with that, can they? (still reading...)

Edit: Oh...

The real issue is that they can get away with it.
 

Rembrandt

Banned
Jul 31, 2013
10,241
0
0
I'm glad they stole threes because I wasn't gonna pay for that.

sucks for the author, though. mobile developers seem to thrive off stealing or "borrowing" ideas/games.
 

Dynamite Shikoku

Congratulations, you really deserve it!
Jun 10, 2004
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Its like the wild west out there for indie mobile devs. But why submit your game to a 'notorious' publisher?
And that article is terribly written.
 

mullet2000

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Mar 19, 2011
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I remember feeling really bad for the Threes developer once 2048 blew up. At least it seems like he managed to do well regardless, unlike the situation in this article.

There really needs be better management about this stuff. They're able to rip people off so badly because no one is there to stop them, simple as that.
 

Fireblend

Banned
Jul 22, 2006
20,644
1
0
I'm glad they stole threes because I wasn't gonna pay for that.

sucks for the author, though. mobile developers seem to thrive off stealing or "borrowing" ideas/games.

Ugh.


I bought Threes. It's a great game and tons of fun.
 

Garrett Hawke

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Jan 24, 2014
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I'm glad they stole threes because I wasn't gonna pay for that.

sucks for the author, though. mobile developers seem to thrive off stealing or "borrowing" ideas/games.
The development team spent a lot of time on Threes. Is like the dollar or whatever it costs really too much to say thank you for a game you enjoy?
 

HowZatOZ

Banned
Dec 4, 2013
5,596
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30
Australia
You have to be extremely careful in the mobile app market due to the field being so creatively bankrupt these days. Hell the most profitable games right now are connect three types, which from my memory have been around since the early 90s.

If you are an indie dev, try and copyright/trademark your game. It's the only way to protect your creative rights and stand a chance in combatting this blatant rip off attitude. Shame that people are getting away with it, and worse making far more money on the situation.
 

Garrett Hawke

Member
Jan 24, 2014
24,331
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430
I remember feeling really bad for the Threes developer once 2048 blew up. At least it seems like he managed to do well regardless, unlike the situation in this article.

There really needs be better management about this stuff. They're able to rip people off so badly because no one is there to stop them, simple as that.
One of the bigger issues is that afaik you can't /really/ copyright gameplay. That's why even in console games there are a lot of titles which are X-esque's and can be super similar, but it's legal as long as they don't use anything that CAN be copyrighted (so actual game assets like artwork, sound, models etc and obviously titles and names).
 

Alienous

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Jan 20, 2013
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This is about as scummy as you can be in this industry.

I hope Ketchapp sinks. And I wished the same on Ouya, so I might have powers.
 

mullet2000

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One of the bigger issues is that afaik you can't /really/ copyright gameplay. That's why even in console games there are a lot of titles which are X-esque's and can be super similar, but it's legal as long as they don't use anything that CAN be copyrighted (so actual game assets like artwork, sound, models etc and obviously titles and names).

Yeah, totally. At the same time, there are really blatant situations like the one in the article where I think almost anyone would agree something very shady is happening. Perhaps we need to reassess (very carefully) how we can apply the law to situations like this. Copyright laws exist to serve us as a society, it's our job to mold them to be fair for everyone as new technologies/media are created.
 

Kriken

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Dec 7, 2013
10,244
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I'm glad they stole threes because I wasn't gonna pay for that.

sucks for the author, though. mobile developers seem to thrive off stealing or "borrowing" ideas/games.

"I am perfectly okay with people stealing from others if it benefits me"

Well at least you admit you're an awful person
 

AegisScott

Neo Member
Aug 10, 2014
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I feel really bad for this guy, but why on earth would you send your very clone-able game to a publisher notorious for cloning games? It sucks that they get away with this, but it's also a valuable life lesson.
 

orthodoxy1095

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Dec 15, 2013
25,270
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Aaaand that's too far in the other direction.
Not really. Anyone who is glad that someone's work and ideas were stolen is frankly a piece of shit. That's not really questionable. Rejoicing in other people's misfortune (especially for your "gain") means you're probably a pretty terrible individual.
 

AegisScott

Neo Member
Aug 10, 2014
68
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0
I'm glad they stole threes because I wasn't gonna pay for that.

sucks for the author, though. mobile developers seem to thrive off stealing or "borrowing" ideas/games.

Everyone's (deservingly) yelling at you for this, but I was hoping you'd explain a little bit. What about Threes didn't seem worth $1.99 to you?
 

DCDW

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Sep 4, 2008
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Matt Cassamassina, you're fuckin up.

 

Somnid

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Aug 9, 2006
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Everyone's (deservingly) yelling at you for this, but I was hoping you'd explain a little bit. What about Threes didn't seem worth $1.99 to you?

Well if someone else made it for free...

This is rather interesting. Video games has always had clones poaching some hype but it's really odd to see knockoffs perform better because the games are literally so simple that customers do not distinguish between original and counterfeit versions. It's about how you sell it, what you are selling is a commodity.
 

Metal-Geo

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Jan 28, 2011
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Dutchland
I feel really bad for this guy, but why on earth would you send your very clone-able game to a publisher notorious for cloning games? It sucks that they get away with this, but it's also a valuable life lesson.
It's possible that he thought those clones were developed by individual indie developers like himself as well and then being teamed with Ketchapp to share the income. Rather than those games being done at Ketchapp inhouse.

I mean, that's what I understand from Ketchapp's ad/offer: You develop, they publish. Everyone gets 50/50.
 

DrXym

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Feb 10, 2007
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885
Threes and 2048 are actually pretty different to play. In Threes when you slide a direction, you just move the tiles one space whereas 2048 slams them across. So a row like this - 2,2,2,2 would combine down to 4,4,x,x with a left swipe. In Threes, a row 1,2,1,2 would combine to 3,1,2,x.

So yeah it's a very similar concept but it leads to a different style of game.

There are so many damned versions of 2048 and variants on the store though. Google / Apple do not do enough to protect the provenance of games or to get rid of clones
 

Orayn

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Jul 4, 2010
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Threes and 2048 are actually pretty different to play. In Threes when you slide a direction, you just move the tiles one space whereas 2048 slams them across. So a row like this - 2,2,2,2 would combine down to 4,4,x,x with a left swipe. In Threes, a row 1,2,1,2 would combine to 3,1,2,x.

So yeah it's a very similar concept but it leads to a different style of game.

There are so many damned versions of 2048 and variants on the store though. Google / Apple do not do enough to protect the provenance of games or to get rid of clones

Also in defense of 2048, the original developer of didn't actually know about Threes at all because he was basically cloning another clone. Granted, he doesn't deserve that much defending because he was still pretty ambivalent about the whole situation after it was brought to his attention.
 

Quixz

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Jun 20, 2012
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Dick publisher!

Thanks to this thread I've just found out about Monument Valley and can't put my phone down. Amazing little game!
 

Struct09

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Oct 9, 2006
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That article makes me mad.

I'm glad they stole threes because I wasn't gonna pay for that.

And this does too.

Also in defense of 2048, the original developer of didn't actually know about Threes at all because he was basically cloning another clone. Granted, he doesn't deserve that much defending because he was still pretty ambivalent about the whole situation after it was brought to his attention.

2048 was fine as it was originally developed. It was made by some guy as an open source web game inspired by 1024. The crappy part was when these other assholes came along, took the source, and packaged it as a free mobile app.
 

Quadraphonic

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Mar 23, 2010
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The article he links to says he dropped out of Digipen after the first year and it sounds like he signed up as a programmer and didn't want to believe the harsh realities that they explained to him.

Then he encountered the harsh realities.
 

Sakujou

Banned
Oct 22, 2012
3,867
0
0
yesterday i read the worst comment in my life.

play store has a sale of android games.

the games vary between 20cents and 2 euros.

a few persons were asking why the games are that expensive and if there is a way to download them for free.

what is wrong with these people?
 

cooljeanius

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Dec 7, 2008
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To be fair, 2048/Threes is a pretty easy game to rip off... I bet I could probably program it myself using only functions from the C Standard Library, and I'm not even that good of a programmer...
 

LycanXIII

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Jul 1, 2012
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iTunes says the app itself dates back to early October, a few weeks before I submitted Rotable. The assholes overwrote an existing app they had cataloged in order to spoof the date.

This is reinforced by the fact that Circle Pong! was updated on November 19th and did not hit the charts until December 7th, well after my October 29th submission date. Before November 19th, it was likely a completely different app.

I'd like to know what the app was when it first launched.