Matt Akins is back with more claims about Ketchapp’s alleged misdeeds with stealing games and making clones. If you recall, we posted about his original claims, and then investigated them further, finding them almost definitively untrue after contacting everyone involved and piecing together the facts. Now, Akins, while trying to throw water on my belief that these games are just garden-variety clones and coincidental situations, has thrown out evidence saying that several other games were stolen by Ketchapp and/or App Cow. The problem is that much like his previous examples, there’s little concrete evidence to suggest that Ketchapp and App Cow are connected, or that this isn’t just, well, the kind of everyday cloning that goes on.
There is no way to prove beyond coincidences, which Akins has already proved could happen with Rotable and Pongo Pongo (Free), that App Cow and Ketchapp have a link. The Amazon Appstore publisher that he originally thought was linked to the two, Obile Glob, has no links to either company according to both Ketchapp and App Cow. And another developer I asked who had a game published by Obile Glob said there was no link. The most concrete link between the companies that Akins can prove? The usage of emoticons. :O
Why would Mudloop lie about Zig Zag Boom (Free) being cloned by ZigZag (Free)? Even if they are, the game has been helped by its proximity in the search rankings to ZigZag on the App Store, so even if Ketchapp stole their game, it’s hard to say that they’ve suffered from it. It’s either a coincidence or they got a net gain out of Ketchapp’s misdeeds. And what I’ve seen and heard independently from Ketchapp and Mudloop has me confident that the coincidence story is the truth.
With his new claims, pretty much every game Akins has pointed out either has prior art or was just straight-up cloned without Ketchapp stealing any submissions. Considering Akins’ Rotable‘s a clone itself, intentional or not, this is mightily hypocritical. This Penny Arcade comic is quite apt to describe the situation – when you’re dealing with common and simple themes, there’s often someone higher up on the chain wwas wronged.
Even if all of Akins’ claims were true – and to be fair, we can’t disprove them entirely, but the evidence against Akins is far stronger than the evidence in favor of his claims – who cares? Ketchapp, App Cow, any number of publishers of micro-games, their games get popularity through marketing and cross-promotion. These micro-games? Their gameplay comes in a distant second to the efforts to make a game popular.
Making a simple and fun game isn’t easy, but it’s quite clear that there are some concepts that can deliver satisfaction that are simple to create that hundreds and thousands of developers are doing. The most important factor is the marketing and curating virality to get loads of downloads. It’s why you see App Cow try Twitter and Vine marketing. Ketchapp can cross-promote their own games through the games they develop and publish.
You can find this business distasteful, you don’t have to like it, but are they doing anything illegal? There’s nothing to suggest that a Yeti Town situation has happened yet. Ketchapp is just making a bunch of simple micro-games like any number of other developers and publishers, not unlike what Matt Akins did with Rotable. They’re just the biggest target. There’s a difference between being a huge jerk and being a criminal, and Ketchapp may be the former, but we need stronger evidence to prove the latter.
All of this is so boring, anyway – all the time that Akins is spending complaining about clones is time that could be spent making more micro-games and building up his own Ketchapp that meets his own ethical standards. And hey, I’ve got other, better games to write about. And I have a copy of Unity installed, so I could get to making more micro-games rather than being critical of someone who is raising a ruckus about an unpopular company to promote himself.