There have been reports of Chinese developers ripping off browser games or smartphone games. Nothing new! This, however, is slightly different. Developer Dominic Szablewski says the game engine he developed (and sells) is being copied and sold in China.
Szablewski tells website Tech In Asia that he first noticed that someone in China was copying his engine earlier this summer. He tried to contact the individual who was apparently copying his engine, but got no response. Then, Szablewski tried emailing Kilofox's US-based hoster, Softlayer, but likewise, he apparently got no reply.
After registering an account on Kilofox "to look at the site a bit closer", Szablewski says that his site -- the legit site -- suffered a DOS attack.
Tech in Asia reached out to the individual who registered Kilofox (a man named Long Yang who either lives in Harbin or, perhaps, Beijing). To Tech in Asia's interview request, Long responded: "The website [kilofox.net] is mine, but the product is not mine. I don't think an interview is necessary."
Kilofox, it seems, is priced half of what Impact is, and it has zero after-sales support. Obviously, Szablewski says he doesn't see a penny of the Kilofox sales. According to the developer:
The bottom line is: I don't know how many sales I lost. Prior to all this, I sold about 3-6 licenses per month to Chinese customers. This has gone down to about 2 licenses per month, while sales for all other countries have gone up. With numbers this low, it's hard to say if it's a fluke or really a consequence of the Chinese clone.
Since kilofox.net went online, I received numerous emails from Chinese customers who were confused whether the site was legitimate. After I told them it was not, they expressed how disappointed and embarrassed they were that someone from their country stole my product.
For Szablewski, it's not just that his intellectual property seems to be at stake, but the reputation of the game engine in China -- especially as he's unable to offer support and updates.
"I had some very happy customers from China and I would love to continue selling it in China," told Tech in Asia, "but honestly, stuff like that makes it hard for me to see China as a viable country to do business in."