The game isn’t even out and a free to play copy has reached number one on the App Store.
Donut County’s developer Ben Esposito recently shared a post on Twitter discussing the fact that his up and coming indie game about swallowing things up in a hole had been cloned on the App Store.
“It stings a little after 5+ years of convincing people a game about a hole in the ground is a good idea lol” said Esposito.
Esposito tweeted about the clone after realising it had reached number one on the App Store. The imitation was published by Voodoo.io, a company known for creating free-to-play games that often bear striking resemblances to recently popular indie games, released or otherwise apparently.
“I wasn’t going to talk about Hole.io,” said Esposito. “but Voodoo.io just got a $200m investment from Goodman Sachs, so we’re prob gonna see a lot more situatons like this.”
Voodoo.io’s clone clearly doesn’t have the polish or level of detail that has gone into Donut County, but it’s easy to see the concern when the game hasn’t even released and they’ve managed to create a copy decent enough o reach number one on the App Store arcade charts.
There is not much developers can really do in this situation as long as the game isn’t an exact carbon copy or rips off code. In fact, this is a fairly regular issue for indie developers who often see their games blatantly cloned on the App Store with what would appear to be no repercussions for the publishers responsible.
Earlier in the year creator of Getting Over It, Bennet Foddy spoke on Twitter about his experience with mobile clones after numerous copies of his game appeared on the App Store soon after its release.
“The whole creative medium of videogames was founded on borrowing and remixing design elements from the very beginning” said Foddy.
“The best thing we can do is to keep the history of ideas alive and not act as though the successful games are made of 100% brand new ideas—they never, ever are.”
App Store clones certainly skirt the lines of copyright often copying the most important identifying aspects of a game, but making it just different enough to avoid a lawsuit. As the issue increases though we may see action against such clones in the indie game sector in a similar fashion to what has been witnessed in the wider gaming industry.
Donut County is set to release later this year on Mac, PC and iOS.