Today I was browsing ArsTechnica in class and came across two articles that I found interesting.
“Game makers face uphill battle proving copyright infringement in court” by Kyle Orland
Today, especially on the mobile gaming market, it’s easy to come across a large quantity of copy-cat or clone games. These games take the idea, design and gameplay of a popular game, tweak it (barely) and spit it back out as their own product in order to make a quick buck. The article gives two specific examples. The first is the original and addicting game Tiny Tower by NimbleBit which was practically stolen outright and repackaged as Zynga’s Dream Heights (the article features great side by side comparison screenshots).
The second game is Bingo Blitz which was also seemingly photocopied and released as Zynga Bingo. The indie developers are fighting back against Zynga with creative ‘dear Zynga’ letters: Tiny Tower letter Bingo Blitz letter.
This sort of plagiarism shows not only the greed of larger companies like Zynga, but also that they’re willing to forego creativity to make some quick cash. These acts take away sales from the smaller developers who put in all the hard work to come up with an original idea in the first place.
The second article, “Game Publishers. Huh? Good God ya’ll what are they good for?” also by Kyle Orland briefly describes the role video game publishers have played in history. It explains the importance of a publisher, what they do (in a nutshell) and how their roles are changing in the modern age of gaming. It’s definitely a good read, especially if you’ve ever found yourself wondering what exactly the difference is between a video game developer (such as Bungie, Blizzard, or Infinity Ward) and a publisher (such as Microsoft Game Studios, Electronic Arts or Activision-Blizzard).