How do you react when your game is cloned before release?


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edited in General
Hi.

Pretty self explanatory.
How would you react?

I saw something that made me think my game concept for I was abducted was cloned... only to realize its only some of the gameplay ideas... so I guess its not a clone.
But it still made my heart jump at the thought.

Comments


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    The story of Ridiculous Fishing, have you heard it?
    http://www.polygon.com/features/2013/4/24/4257958/cloned-at-birth-the-story-of-ridiculous-fishing

    Great story and great lessons.

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    This actually happened to QCF :

    GETTING CLONED AND NOT LOOKING LIKE A DOUCHEBAG

    http://www.polygon.com/2012/10/12/3494188/cloning-case-files-qcf-design

    With a bit of good fortune, the whole ordeal kind of turned out to be good for the game in the long run I think.

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    Squidcor said:
    This actually happened to QCF :

    GETTING CLONED AND NOT LOOKING LIKE A DOUCHEBAG

    http://www.polygon.com/2012/10/12/3494188/cloning-case-files-qcf-design

    With a bit of good fortune, the whole ordeal kind of turned out to be good for the game in the long run I think.
    We worked really hard to make that true. The core response when you get cloned is to feel like you've been robbed.
    Crocopede said:
    Hi.

    Pretty self explanatory.
    How would you react?

    I saw something that made me think my game concept for I was abducted was cloned... only to realize its only some of the gameplay ideas... so I guess its not a clone.
    But it still made my heart jump at the thought.
    That depends a lot on why and how your game was cloned. If it's cloned by a fast-mover churn factory because they smell money in all your marketing, presentation and gameplay, then you're looking at a bona-fide concern for the livelihood of your company. If they're aggressively marketing the game they've made that directly copies yours in the same spaces and platforms that you're aiming for and if they have more marketing clout than you do, you're probably screwed.

    If, on the other hand, your game hasn't already proved that it's going to make money when it releases and someone else saw a way to add to your ideas to make it profitable, then your problem isn't the cloning, it's your game not being compelling.

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    edited
    I've had something similar happen to me, but in a consulting context, which is tedious business stuff and covered under a thousand NDAs that not even lawyers can understand. But the bottom line is that a piece of work I poured my heart and soul into was essentially copied, and the client in question accepted the latter, inferior version.

    The one thing I took out of that polygon article about Ridiculous Fishing is that the market in general doesn't really care who sells the game, so long as they can buy and play it. And if a cloned game is commercially successful, it's a good indicator that the original will be successful too.

    There's also the phenomenon that people will spend money on stuff they already like. So if they enjoy fishing games, they'll buy fishing games. When they tire of the one, they'll buy another. Think about it in terms of your own life - you have a set genre of movies, games, clothes, music and art that you spend money on, and generally you buy more of the same. Look through your Steam library - how many FPSes or RPGs or RTSs do you own? Only one of each? Chances are you own multiple ones, and they all have very similar game mechanics. And yet you bought them all.

    Games are not hardware, or essential services - buying one does not preclude the customer from buying another, and I think it matters more that you get the game right, instead of getting the game out first.

    Of course, rational as that sounds, it does nothing for the emotional hit when you realize your work has been stolen from you, but unfortunately there's no amount of internet advice that can help you deal with that. I think it's always better to stay positive and professional, and go offline if you need to.

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    Excellent feedback. Thank you gentlemen.
    Never knew that happened to QCF. Sad... but I reckon you guys came out on top. I might be wrong.

    On another note... my game wont make money. Not yet. But in the future it will get better... and perhaps make some but I don't feel / think its one the Hit games so to speak.

    But it was fun making it and im proud I made it.
    The other guys mechanics that he changed is actually pretty cool I must admit.

    I read the Story about this fish game but never actually realized they cloned it so early. Need to read this article you posted Tuism.

    Thanks guys

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    How do you track this, via Google alerts or word of mouth?

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    Also, often things aren't clones. If you find something that's close to what you have, it's almost definitely not a clone UNLESS:

    1. You and your game is already famous in one way or another (lots of plays, downloads, won some awards, been out in alpha for a year and still getting lots of downloads)
    2. You and the other maker are connected in one way or another - acquaintance, etc.

    Why I mention this is because the world is vast and everyone is working off of the same pool of influence, really. To claim that only you could have had an idea similar to yours is simply not realistic. Often people run into each other and talk to each other about ideas only to find that they're so similar. It happens.

    Only time clones happen is when the source material is already successful. There's no other reason for anyone to clone something.

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    edited
    wogan said:
    I've had something similar happen to me, but in a consulting context, which is tedious business stuff and covered under a thousand NDAs that not even lawyers can understand. But the bottom line is that a piece of work I poured my heart and soul into was essentially copied, and the client in question accepted the latter, inferior version.
    That's usually a case of unscrupulous business practices. It's basically solution cloning where someone else gets to charge less because they stole the R&D done by someone else... That's not the same as game cloning though, game cloners benefit from R&D, market research, market identification and even distribution mechanisms that they didn't have to produce.

    Sure, it sucks, but often the solution to that sort of shadiness is to sign with clients earlier and keep your work protected that way. You simply can't do the same thing with games - no, not releasing anything about your game until you're "done" isn't a solution, you just get a shit game that's got zero pre-release buzz that way.
    wogan said:
    There's also the phenomenon that people will spend money on stuff they already like. So if they enjoy fishing games, they'll buy fishing games. When they tire of the one, they'll buy another. Think about it in terms of your own life - you have a set genre of movies, games, clothes, music and art that you spend money on, and generally you buy more of the same. Look through your Steam library - how many FPSes or RPGs or RTSs do you own? Only one of each? Chances are you own multiple ones, and they all have very similar game mechanics. And yet you bought them all.
    This is a false equivalence that keeps being made when people talk about cloning. A clone is not a game with similar mechanics, a clone is an exact copy. How many FPS games are you going to buy where the maps, movement and weapons are all exactly the same as another game you already own? How many puzzle games are you going to buy that have duplicate puzzles? Often the reason to buy an indie game is a unique hook or mechanic, why would you buy another game that had exactly the same unique hook explored in the same design space?

    At best, the original game gets to act like an expansion pack to the clone - offering more puzzles or more on the theme of the hook that they invented, but that's a pretty poor consolation in a market that now sees your original work as me-too profiteering. It's also an extra financial hit on a game studio that now has to sink resources into building content beyond the BEST content that they'd already designed (depending on when in production a game gets cloned, but @Tuism's totally right about unknown games not really getting cloned in the first place).
    wogan said:
    Games are not hardware, or essential services - buying one does not preclude the customer from buying another, and I think it matters more that you get the game right, instead of getting the game out first.
    Yes and no. The first mover advantage is huge in a hit-game scenario. Often that first mover will establish a genre or set of conventions that were actually legitimately invented by the game that got cloned, but will forever be associated with the clone instead. That's a big marketing hurdle that the original game wouldn't have had to deal with if the cloner didn't sense easy money.

    Crush the Castle will never be big, but it could have been. Is it even possible to find your way to the bottom of the Super Death Worm clonestorm? (Hint: it has something to do with a South African game made for one of the Game.Dev competitions that never earned a cent) Does anyone remember who Zynga copied Farmville from?

    Cloning is a huge problem. If it happens to you it's a lot more of an issue than simply curbing your emotions because your sales will definitely be good now... Don't fall prey to survivorship bias: The way to respond to being cloned is to NOT have the same things happen to you that happened to cloned games that failed, and far too many of those things are well beyond your control.

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    dislekcia said:
    How many FPS games are you going to buy where the maps, movement and weapons are all exactly the same as another game you already own?
    Every Call of Duty title? :P I actually own most of them, either for PC or Xbox.

    I just wonder about the flip-side of this argument. Art, sound, and the like can be copyrighted, but as those articles point out, the actual game mechanic that makes it interesting, cannot. There's another place in the world where ideas and mechanics, with no bearing on real-world applications, are protected: Patents. And especially in the tech patent sector, it's a total shitstorm, with patent trolls, specialist patent lawyers, and an entire industry built on patent litigation. It's insane.

    So maybe it would be dangerous if game mechanic ideas were patented (or granted some other legal status) as a matter of course. It might end up creating an incredibly fertile ground for patent trolls to come along, acquire poorly-defined patents, and sue games out of existence for violating them.

    There's also the spectrum of execution. I think a lot of people have similar ideas, and if you looked long and hard enough, you'd find games that you'd swear were clones of eachother. This isn't a particularly uncommon thing in science or art, since a lot of us are drawing inspiration from the same sources, or working in the same environment as our peers. What always matters is how the idea is executed. If someone can take your idea and execute it better, it'll probably sting, but it might also mean that even if you developed your idea in a total vacuum, you'd never have been able to execute it as well. Or at least, it would take you a lot longer to do it.
    dislekcia said:
    The first mover advantage is huge in a hit-game scenario. Often that first mover will establish a genre or set of conventions that were actually legitimately invented by the game that got cloned, but will forever be associated with the clone instead. That's a big marketing hurdle that the original game wouldn't have had to deal with if the cloner didn't sense easy money.
    In the long run, though, does that really matter? In the story of Ridiculous Fishing, Gamenauts dropped the clone in 2011, and Vlambeer came along with their original creation 2 years later. They launched to higher acclaim than Gamenauts' clone did, probably reached many more customers, and will hold on to their top spot for quite a while. I'd say that's entirely down to the fact that they executed the idea a lot better than Gamenauts did, because in the process of developing it they understood (in a way that Gamenauts might have not), what would actually make the game brilliant.

    Another example is Wolfenstein 3D. How's this for cloning: In 1985, Muse Software released Castle Wolfenstein, and two years later they shut down. Today, if you try tracing the roots of FPS games, you might go back as far as Half-Life 1, and Quake 1, but they were inspired/informed by Wolfenstein 3D, developed by id Software in 1992.

    id took the idea, the name, the entire theme of the game from another company, and released a title that eventually led to Doom, Quake, Half-Life, and the rest is history. Again - Muse Software had first-mover advantage on an idea, but that didn't save them from bankruptcy, and today, doesn't garner them any credit when it comes to associating clones to originals.

    And then there's the story of Minecraft. Everyone knows Minecraft. Minecraft is a genre-setting gravity-defying marriage-saving game, which borrowed the entire core mechanic from Infiniminer, a game that was executed first, but poorly. And there was a fantastic opportunity to clone it - the unobfuscated source code was accidentally released, IIRC. Even then, Notch just took the idea behind the game, built up his own version, and the rest is history.

    Would you accuse Notch of cloning? Did Zachary deserve to be rewarded simply by being the first person to execute the idea, instead of spending a significant amount of time refining it (he abandoned development when the source code was released)? Did Mojang have any trouble marketing the game, given that it was essentially a clone of an existing, publicly-available prototype?

    I think the reality of this is much more complicated than any of us would like it to be. I'm not sure I want to live in a world where ideas can be legally protected - that's open for abuse on a frightening scale. But it's also discouraging to work in an industry where it's OK for someone else to just copy all your hard work and turn a profit from it.

    How do you manage this, though? Do you try and create a culture where buyers are informed that the game they're buying was cloned from somewhere else? Where do you draw the line? What if someone takes the core mechanic from your game, but builds it in a completely different genre, with new art, on a different platform - is that a clone? Do they deserve to be rewarded for their original effort on a borrowed idea? And who owns an original idea anyway - how do you prove it, in an unbiased way, other than an authoritative registry? And in the event of such a registry, who gets to decide what is original and what is a clone?

    I'm not saying the current system is the best, I just think it's the least-worst, of all the possible alternatives.

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    edited
    wogan said:
    dislekcia said:
    How many FPS games are you going to buy where the maps, movement and weapons are all exactly the same as another game you already own?
    Every Call of Duty title? :P I actually own most of them, either for PC or Xbox.
    Those games do not have identical maps, weapons or movement - the maps are the largest perceivable difference, even when favorite multiplayer maps are recreated. You're not addressing the point I made at all.
    wogan said:
    I just wonder about the flip-side of this argument. Art, sound, and the like can be copyrighted, but as those articles point out, the actual game mechanic that makes it interesting, cannot. There's another place in the world where ideas and mechanics, with no bearing on real-world applications, are protected: Patents. And especially in the tech patent sector, it's a total shitstorm, with patent trolls, specialist patent lawyers, and an entire industry built on patent litigation. It's insane.

    So maybe it would be dangerous if game mechanic ideas were patented (or granted some other legal status) as a matter of course. It might end up creating an incredibly fertile ground for patent trolls to come along, acquire poorly-defined patents, and sue games out of existence for violating them.
    This has been debated a lot in articles and interviews about game cloning. I suggest you search for Timothy Langdell and Edge Digital, I think you'd find that interesting.

    As for patenting game mechanics, that's not helpful for a variety of reasons. The chief issue being that patents take too long, 6 years+ for anything that you can actually use to protect your game. Informing players about cloning and petitioning for copyright changes seems to be a much better approach.
    wogan said:
    There's also the spectrum of execution. I think a lot of people have similar ideas, and if you looked long and hard enough, you'd find games that you'd swear were clones of eachother. This isn't a particularly uncommon thing in science or art, since a lot of us are drawing inspiration from the same sources, or working in the same environment as our peers. What always matters is how the idea is executed. If someone can take your idea and execute it better, it'll probably sting, but it might also mean that even if you developed your idea in a total vacuum, you'd never have been able to execute it as well. Or at least, it would take you a lot longer to do it.
    Cloning is directly copying someone else's work and final conclusions in order to avoid having to do costly research and development. I've been pushing to call it plagiarism for a while now, somehow that's a much more understandable concept that doesn't have people talking about implementation of ideas when that's not what cloning is concerned with.

    If someone is interpreting ideas in a different way, they're solving their own problems instead of copying the solutions to those problems - that's not cloning. There's a huge difference between inspiration and outright predatory copying in order to beat someone to, or out of, a market.
    wogan said:
    In the long run, though, does that really matter? In the story of Ridiculous Fishing, Gamenauts dropped the clone in 2011, and Vlambeer came along with their original creation 2 years later. They launched to higher acclaim than Gamenauts' clone did, probably reached many more customers, and will hold on to their top spot for quite a while. I'd say that's entirely down to the fact that they executed the idea a lot better than Gamenauts did, because in the process of developing it they understood (in a way that Gamenauts might have not), what would actually make the game brilliant.
    Are you ignoring how Vlambeer nearly shut down over this? If they didn't have other games to keep them running, Ridiculous Fishing wouldn't exist. And yes, while RF might be objectively better than Ninja Fishing (and this is usually the case with cloned games due to unfamiliarity with the design space and thus solutions to design problems that crop up during implementation can't be copied from the original and aren't the same quality) that doesn't justify RF having to compete with it's own game ideas in the marketplace. Nor does it justify Vlambeer having to spend more resources to make their own game better than "itself" and not getting any income from that while it's happening.

    The game was already brilliant. Rami and JW still get emails complaining that they stole their ideas from NF. This is not okay... The talk Rami and JW gave at GDC about cloning and RF is something you need to see. The talk they gave about cloning the year before is only slides on the Vault, but it's still good.
    wogan said:
    Another example is Wolfenstein 3D. How's this for cloning: In 1985, Muse Software released Castle Wolfenstein, and two years later they shut down. Today, if you try tracing the roots of FPS games, you might go back as far as Half-Life 1, and Quake 1, but they were inspired/informed by Wolfenstein 3D, developed by id Software in 1992.

    id took the idea, the name, the entire theme of the game from another company, and released a title that eventually led to Doom, Quake, Half-Life, and the rest is history. Again - Muse Software had first-mover advantage on an idea, but that didn't save them from bankruptcy, and today, doesn't garner them any credit when it comes to associating clones to originals.
    This is not an example of cloning. The "Wolf clone" and "DOOM clone" naming convention for early FPS games is confusing, but games like Pathways into Darkness and Marathon aren't clones.

    If you want an example of first-mover advantage, look at Rovio's claim to fame: Angry Birds. It's actually a mobile clone of a flash game called Crush the Castle.
    wogan said:
    And then there's the story of Minecraft. Everyone knows Minecraft. Minecraft is a genre-setting gravity-defying marriage-saving game, which borrowed the entire core mechanic from Infiniminer, a game that was executed first, but poorly. And there was a fantastic opportunity to clone it - the unobfuscated source code was accidentally released, IIRC. Even then, Notch just took the idea behind the game, built up his own version, and the rest is history.

    Would you accuse Notch of cloning? Did Zachary deserve to be rewarded simply by being the first person to execute the idea, instead of spending a significant amount of time refining it (he abandoned development when the source code was released)? Did Mojang have any trouble marketing the game, given that it was essentially a clone of an existing, publicly-available prototype?
    I've spoken to both Markus and Zach about this. Markus being inspired by Infiniminer's play and implementing his own ideas on top of a novel branch that came out of him exploring that gameplay isn't cloning. Zach doesn't think so, he's said so online multiple times. Mojang only bought Minecraft from Markus well after the game was a known success, when Minecraft was first released on the increasing pay-scale, it got called an Infiniminer clone a lot. That counted against it for quite some time, yes.
    wogan said:
    I think the reality of this is much more complicated than any of us would like it to be. I'm not sure I want to live in a world where ideas can be legally protected - that's open for abuse on a frightening scale. But it's also discouraging to work in an industry where it's OK for someone else to just copy all your hard work and turn a profit from it.
    Again, google Tim Langdell and see how the current systems are exploited already. Nobody is suggesting that ideas need to be protected or that inspiration be outlawed, only that direct copying of implementations be made less easy to get away with, given the harm it does to creators of original work.
    wogan said:
    How do you manage this, though? Do you try and create a culture where buyers are informed that the game they're buying was cloned from somewhere else? Where do you draw the line? What if someone takes the core mechanic from your game, but builds it in a completely different genre, with new art, on a different platform - is that a clone? Do they deserve to be rewarded for their original effort on a borrowed idea? And who owns an original idea anyway - how do you prove it, in an unbiased way, other than an authoritative registry? And in the event of such a registry, who gets to decide what is original and what is a clone?
    Buyer awareness is one of the best defenses. It's also a very strong argument in favor of open development: People can shout on your behalf if they've watched your game in development and suddenly someone else tries to claim your game as their own.

    Again, I'm not sure what idea usage and borrowing has to do with directly copying someone else's implementation of a game. In music, each copyright territory has a body that artists register with in order to receive royalties when their work gets played on radio or sampled in someone else's work, that's what SAMRO does.
    wogan said:
    I'm not saying the current system is the best, I just think it's the least-worst, of all the possible alternatives.
    The current system is pretty bad: Store owners keep ignoring cloning because it makes them money; The public is constantly confused about what cloning even is; Clone studios are hailed as innovators on the back of plagiarised games and somewhere like Zynga makes enough money to keep going year on year.

    Seeing as your idea of cloning was so full of misconceptions, I'm not convinced that the alternatives you see are true reflections on what's possible in the space. Loads of alternatives are available, I've had many discussions with all sorts of devs about what might be done (The cloning of DD was on everyone's minds right when we won at the IGF, it came up a lot). Talking about game plagiarism instead of cloning is probably the first step toward getting copyright laws to recognise game implementations as protected art. Steam is pretty active about plagiarism, Apple wavers a lot depending on who you get to talk to, Google needs CPR on the issue. Ideas on paying "sampling rates" on sources of game inspiration like in the music industry have even been raised and discussed in many interesting possible implementations.

    Basically right now we need to stop doing the work of the cloners - sorry, plagiarists - in feeding the misconceptions about idea ownership, copyright status, patents and the continuum of inspiration vs implementation copying. Who benefits when definitions and terms are this muddy? Not the original creators, that's for sure.

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    Store owners not caring is very true. In the App store... there are so many clones of a hit puzzle game. Lets say the name is aaa.
    The other clones are named aaa! aaa? aaab aaa8 etc.
    All if which are featured under the puzzle section.

    My biggest annoyance with this is you do not get to see anything else in the app store without having sift through the same clone 100's of times.

    And well... any of the other games are now buried under the same clone.

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    If someone manages to clone Stasis before its release I would want to shake their hand!
    If there is an advantage to linear heavy story based games its that they are near impossible to clone effectively.

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    So I was just driving and threw around the topic of cloning in my head.

    Why is it that bigger companies, with more resource than smaller indie teams, can't or don't choose to dedicate their resources towards R&D? (well ok the hypothesis is that companies who clone don't do their own R&D, which is not always true, but I'm just making an over-simplified hypothesis here)

    If it takes two people a week (for example) to make five ideas and prototype and test, it would (in theory) take ten people a week to generate twenty ideas and prototype and test, vastly increasing their potential to hit gold.

    Again, yes this is vastly simplified. So which of the following is true?

    1) Due to higher overheads, they are forced to be in production mode more often than research mode because funds run out and R&D is uncertain, even at better efficiency rates.
    2) Bigger companies simply have no business incentive to R&D when given the option to clone a sure thing.
    3) There is very little if at all financial repercussions for a clone being busted.
    4) Anything else?


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    edited
    If someone manages to clone Stasis before its release I would want to shake their hand!
    If there is an advantage to linear heavy story based games its that they are near impossible to clone effectively.
    Ctrl+C Ctrl+V :)

    You're right, cloning an intricate story, with all the detailed art (without it being simple, hardcore, copy-and-paste plagiarism) would be very difficult. I haven't yet been in this situation myself, but I've already decided that if someone did come along and wanted to clone anything I've built (and if I believed they had the skill and the drive to do it), I'd sooner try and bring them into my team, than work against them: because, clearly, they're heavily invested in the game already, and have a desire to benefit from it (either from shaping the creative direction, or generating revenue).

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    wogan said:
    If someone manages to clone Stasis before its release I would want to shake their hand!
    If there is an advantage to linear heavy story based games its that they are near impossible to clone effectively.
    Ctrl+C Ctrl+V :)

    You're right, cloning an intricate story, with all the detailed art (without it being simple, hardcore, copy-and-paste plagiarism) would be very difficult. I haven't yet been in this situation myself, but I've already decided that if someone did come along and wanted to clone anything I've built (and if I believed they had the skill and the drive to do it), I'd sooner try and bring them into my team, than work against them: because, clearly, they're heavily invested in the game already, and have a desire to benefit from it (either from shaping the creative direction, or generating revenue).
    While that's a nice idealistic approach... I don't think I've ever heard of a story where a cloner either lets their clone game be seen in the public or contacts the original creator BEFORE they've released it and is already making money from it. By the time you even had a whiff of what's going on he's already done. He isn't gonna retract and be all like "Oh! So THAT'S your original vision! I got it all wrong, yeah let's improve this game and make it better and I'll share my profits with you!".

    Good luck trying to convince a thief who's already selling stuff stolen out of your house to join you to... ok the metaphor doesn't work entirely, but you know what I mean :)

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    Tuism said:
    4) Anything else?
    I suspect it's down to risk - financial and reputational. http://www.storm8.com/ is the best example of this: Their entire model is this:

    1) Look at what's doing well in a particular category
    2) Clone the game mechanics, re-do the art and polish it relentlessly
    3) Launch, market, profit by soaking up an existing user base that the previous game took the risk to generate
    4) Rinse and repeat

    That entire pattern is low risk, since you're producing a game that you know people are already playing. This same pattern of thought exists in business itself. Big businesses need sure bets, and a highly-publicized new-venture failure is unpalatable to most. When someone else does the work and proves that there is a demand for something, then it's easier for conservative businesses to make the case that it's worth investing in a particular category.

    For instance: Right now, Google X is taking risks along a number of lines: Glass, Tango, Wing. If any of them achieve commercial success, it'll be 2-3 years before all the me-too competitors swarm the space. If they fail, then the competition knows it's a dangerous area, and they didn't have to risk anything to find that out.

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    Tuism said:
    By the time you even had a whiff of what's going on he's already done.
    Hence the qualifier: try :)


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    If someone manages to clone Stasis before its release I would want to shake their hand!
    If there is an advantage to linear heavy story based games its that they are near impossible to clone effectively.
    I get what you're saying, but rest assured that if you'd been doing a ton of marketing or won a bunch of awards or something and had a load of visibility, people would be selling STASIS: MOBILE EDITION on Google Play right now, using art ripped from your KS beta.

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    edited
    wogan said:
    I've already decided that if someone did come along and wanted to clone anything I've built (and if I believed they had the skill and the drive to do it), I'd sooner try and bring them into my team, than work against them: because, clearly, they're heavily invested in the game already, and have a desire to benefit from it (either from shaping the creative direction, or generating revenue).
    @Tuism speaks truth. With DD's cloning, we tried to get our plagiarist to add in some unique ideas into his game and thus make it his own, we even gave him a bunch of ideas on what he could try that we were consciously not exploring in DD. He wasn't interested because "legally we couldn't stop him".

    We did get contacted by someone who had been making an HTML5 version of the DD alpha and wanted to release it for cash. We took a look at it, saw that it wasn't stable/complete yet and offered him the source to the Gamemaker version if he'd be okay with us hosting the resulting game for him and it being free (the alpha was always free in the first place). He agreed and is fully credited for the resulting port :)

    These things depend entirely on the person you're talking to. A financially motivated cloner with a broken set of ethics that's out to exploit your work isn't going to pay attention. A fan that loves what you've done and is simply keen to be involved somehow themselves can be a potential ally if you can communicate well.

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    edited
    Tuism said:
    1) Due to higher overheads, they are forced to be in production mode more often than research mode because funds run out and R&D is uncertain, even at better efficiency rates.
    2) Bigger companies simply have no business incentive to R&D when given the option to clone a sure thing.
    3) There is very little if at all financial repercussions for a clone being busted.
    4) Anything else?
    It might not be a rational decision. If they feel that point 2) is sort of true,

    i.e. There is definitely a big incentive to create something new in the marketplace, but the option of a clone seems a surer thing.

    Cloning might appeal to someone who is investing a lot of money because it appears less risky, even if it isn't actually the best financial decision, because they don't themselves understand game development.

    To be honest, I'm not sure how risky developing a clone is compared to doing R'nD and producing something more original. R'nD is obviously more expensive, and requires certain conditions to work that are hard to foster, but being first to the marketplace with a great game has significant rewards.

    Another point might be that the kind of games company that would consider cloning is the kind of games company that fosters the kinds of conditions that are poisonous for R'nD... so maybe these sorts of big mobile game companies have no choice but to clone even though they have the resources to afford R'nD.?

    In any case I basically agree with @Wogan. It's almost certainly about being risk averse (and obviously not caring about the art of game development).
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