Vlambeer May Like Competing With Clones After All

Ridiculous Fishing

It was only a couple of months ago that I wrote about a Twitter exchange I had with Vlambeer developer Rami Ismail over its gripes about game cloning. The story at that time was that Vlambeer’s latest game Luftrausers was being cloned by some other developer. This event followed a previous one in which its game Radical Fishing was cloned and released to the iPhone App store. In that exchange, Rami came across as preferring to somehow block clones from the market rather than compete with them. That opinion may have changed though.

A Digital Spy report shows that despite the inability to be first to market with Ridiculous Fishing on the iOS, that game went on to be a phenomenal success despite the clone, Ninja Fishing, having had a months long head start. What was it that allowed this late comer to the iOS market to beat out the competition? Exactly what I said was the key. Making a better game.

We didn’t expect it to be this big – we hoped it would be this size. We really hoped this would be the definitive statement about creativity will always win, because obviously the whole cloning background is still there for us, right?

We still want to make this statement that Ninja Fishing did well, but Ridiculous Fishing wins because it was the better game.

Better games win. That’s what we hoped people would get out of it, and I think they did.

This is a far different statement from what I was told via Twitter only months ago:

We’re not competing, we do not intend to compete. We don’t care about competing. We care that that’s our work being ripped off.

In the space of a few months, it would seem that Vlambeer has learned just how easy it is to beat cloners in a free market. Sure you may not always be first to market, but that has only a limited advantage. If a better game comes later, it should easily be able to win. I certainly hope that Vlambeer carries that lesson forward

I also hope that this event shapes their views on cloning in general. Is it wrong to hate cloners and the games they make? Not at all. But the proper response to such clones is not to complain to Apple and Google and try to get those games removed. It should be to do exactly what has happened here and compete. Make a better product. Win the market. What could be better?

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  1. #1 by Rami Ismail on June 28, 2013 - 2:53 pm

    No, we still don’t like competing in that model at all. We make the games we want to make and find an audience that appreciates them – regardless of the context. All the context did was ruin our fun in making games and almost shut down the company. We like to make games. Sure, we also like to be able to pay for food and rent, but we don’t need to compete with other indies for that. We -indie as a whole- compete with obscurity more than anything.

    Again, this story could’ve just as well ended with Ridiculous Fishing not releasing at all and Vlambeer disappearing from gaming. Our game was ripped off – that’s what we cared about. That we won just makes for a great statement towards the industry, towards gamers, towards developers and towards cloners.

    For us, the full story is written down here: http://www.polygon.com/features/2013/4/24/4257958/cloned-at-birth-the-story-of-ridiculous-fishing

    • Zachary Knight

      #2 by Zachary Knight on June 30, 2013 - 5:40 pm

      Sorry for the late reply. I had not been watching comments closely.

      Again, this story could’ve just as well ended with Ridiculous Fishing not releasing at all and Vlambeer disappearing from gaming.

      And this I don’t understand. Why would Vlambeer had to have gone away? Sure if Ridiculous Fishing was a worse game than Ninja Fishing, then yeah, it would have failed and hurt you. Not because you were cloned, but because you made a worse game. That is my point. Cloning doesn’t matter. Making the better game matters. If someone can make a better game than you based on the same idea, then that is your problem.

      Thanks for the link. I will have to read that.

    • #3 by Zool on July 2, 2013 - 9:20 am

      You basically say that BECAUSE a competing game entered the market, “this story could’ve just as well ended with Ridiculous Fishing not releasing at all”.

      How – in any way – a competitor’s appearance would have prevented you from releasing your own game? That doesn’t make sense.
      You’re saying that because an opponent entered the ring first, you can’t finish dressing up and entering the ring yourself.

      You don’t earn money until you release the game, so you did not lose anything until then. You could have lost the match, but how could you not enter the competition? This doesn’t make sense.

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