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?