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Ethics of releasing similar apps?

02-19-2011, 02:25 PM
#1
Joined: Jan 2011
Location: San Diego
Posts: 6
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Ethics of releasing similar apps?

Hi all,

I'm interested in hearing your opinions on this.

I had an idea for a iPhone game in Sept. 2010. I searched the app store and there was nothing with a similar name or exact idea at the time. I was already working on a couple of apps so I put this particular game idea in queue for my next project.

Fast forward to January 2011 and I'm ready to start production on this game. As I start working on the game, I find that someone released a similar game in Oct. 2010, more lightweight than mine, but very similar with the exact name I wanted to use!

I spoke to a fellow developer about the situation with a concern about moving forward with my app using a different name. It was, and is, my thought that folks come up with similar or the same ideas for apps all the time and even if another guy published theirs first, that shouldn't prevent you from moving forward with your own idea, especially if you can improve on it.

My developer friend cautioned me that fellow developers frown upon this idea of releasing a similar app, especially if the name is very similar. I'm not going copy this other game's name, but let's say, for example, this other guy's game is called "Animal Farts" and that was my original name. (This is not the case, but it's a decent analogy.) If I decided to call my game "Animal Toots", is that different enough?

What do you all think about 1) The idea of releasing a similar game? and more importantly 2) Using a similar name as I described?

Thanks in advance.

Blog: http://theundaunteddad.com
Fun & Games: http://undauntedapps.com
Check out my first iPhone app, Celebritize!
In the App Store now!
02-19-2011, 04:07 PM
#2
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: London, UK
Posts: 3,741
I think by now there are so many clones on the App Store it's almost ignored, provided you haven't just ripped the textures out of another game or something. If you can improve on the original idea and throw something new in you should be safe. As for the name, I'd have a think about whether you really need the one you had in mind. Maybe even ask people here on TA to suggest ideas, there has to be at least one other option that sounds just as good.

Let's not forget that games have a long history of copying one another, every FPS on the market right now has borrowed ideas and implemented existing systems from others. Evolution isn't the same as stealing.

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02-19-2011, 04:39 PM
#3
Joined: Jan 2011
Location: Texas
Posts: 485
The problem i see all the people who have played or heard of "Animal Farts" Would call you a copier and refuse to buy it...unless you really improved on it but if there both above 3 dollars or so i don't see many people buying it just for some improvements on what they already have.
02-19-2011, 05:20 PM
#4
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 5,768
As noted - there are probably very few really "original" apps in the store. Within genre's there are lots of similarities.

Theoretically, similar gameplay and mechanics should not necessarily lead to similar graphics and creatures, so having the games look the same is probably poor form. Name-wise there are tons of names that are similar so your example for me is far enough away that I would not care (although the other developer might), but that probably really depends on who the other developer is.

There are so many apps from indies - is the other app really doing well? If from a big publisher, and is selling a lot, then you need to really make sure your work is noticeably different. If it is a small dev, there is a reasonable chance that few people even have their work, and so similarities would be tolerated.

I think that one of the best examples that we have is - Papi Jump hit the app store first, and still continues to be successful, but Doodle Jump (which followed) is the de facto standard by which jumping games are measured. So how similar are / were they? If you feel comfortable that your game is at least as disimilar as these 2 games are, you should definitely be safe. Good luck in your endeavors.

GameCenter ID : oldestgamer
02-19-2011, 05:41 PM
#5
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 316
Quote:
Originally Posted by MidianGTX View Post
I think by now there are so many clones on the App Store it's almost ignored, provided you haven't just ripped the textures out of another game or something. If you can improve on the original idea and throw something new in you should be safe. As for the name, I'd have a think about whether you really need the one you had in mind. Maybe even ask people here on TA to suggest ideas, there has to be at least one other option that sounds just as good.

Let's not forget that games have a long history of copying one another, every FPS on the market right now has borrowed ideas and implemented existing systems from others. Evolution isn't the same as stealing.
I agree. I plan on becoming an iOS developer i the near future and I have a few ideas for some games that had yet to be done on iOS. Unfortunately, the game which I was getting my inspiration from was announced and released a few days later after I thought of the idea.
02-19-2011, 05:43 PM
#6
No one cares anymore. Just look at the sheer amount of X vs Y games, basically just piece together any two English words and add a "vs" in the middle and you have a game name. It's not like your game name is original or interesting anyways.

The underhyped: JuBeat, Drawn: The Painted Tower, Beatrider, Phoenix Wright, Broken Sword, Cut the Rope, Paladog, Isotope, Crystal War, Scarlett

GameCenter: Chocopuff1
02-19-2011, 06:22 PM
#7
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 418
As a consumer, I say release it! Build it and they will come. As long as it is a good game people will play it.
02-19-2011, 10:56 PM
#8
Joined: Jan 2011
Location: San Diego
Posts: 6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by November's Chopin View Post
It's not like your game name is original or interesting anyways.
The names I used as examples were noted as analogies and not the actual names. Just want to be clear. But hey, thanks for being so blunt!

Thanks for all the comments. I appreciate all your thoughts on this.

Blog: http://theundaunteddad.com
Fun & Games: http://undauntedapps.com
Check out my first iPhone app, Celebritize!
In the App Store now!
02-19-2011, 11:12 PM
#9
Joined: Jan 2011
Location: San Diego
Posts: 6
Send a message via AIM to TheUndauntedDad
Quote:
Originally Posted by pluto6 View Post
I think that one of the best examples that we have is - Papi Jump hit the app store first, and still continues to be successful, but Doodle Jump (which followed) is the de facto standard by which jumping games are measured. So how similar are / were they? If you feel comfortable that your game is at least as disimilar as these 2 games are, you should definitely be safe. Good luck in your endeavors.
Pluto6, that's a perfect example. I'd never even heard of Papi Jump before reading your post! My game will be significantly more different from the other than those two are.

As far as name... I'm going to expand my list of options to consider something other than what my current working title is. I may find something better, but if not, I have my original reworked title to fall back on.

Again, thanks so much for the posts! You'll all find out in six weeks or so what this is all about when I release it!

Blog: http://theundaunteddad.com
Fun & Games: http://undauntedapps.com
Check out my first iPhone app, Celebritize!
In the App Store now!
02-20-2011, 12:42 AM
#10
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 454
I also have another important piece of advice. Look your always going
to have people who jump and say oh the developer ripped the game off of this. Here is a few examples

1) Soosiz = pizza boy.....both are mario type games but are nothing alike , but tell this idiots that.

2)Doodle jump=mega jump .... when mega jump started you heard idiots saying oh another clone.

3) Zombieville=Zombienieghborhood .... morons in the beginnning saying oh zombieville part2 copycat....the games where so different it wasnt even funny.

Look try not to listen to unsensible people because your a different breed. Some people dont have the same level of education and most of them are other jealous developers. Jealous developers are rampant and will send thier beta testers to flame. Just go the path your going and keep up your good work. There are many people including me who are proud of developers that make iphone/ipod the absolute best system is in the world hands down.