The Depressing Black Market That’s Ripping Off Video Games

The Depressing Black Market That’s Ripping Off Video Games
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If you thought that those responsible for cloning and ripping off other people’s work on phone stores were working in blissful isolation, you’re wrong. And underestimating the size of the market for this kind of junk. Cloning phone games is big business, and the business is disgusting.

The Tumblr I Want A Clone is a depressing catalogue of all the sites, forums and marketplaces offering – or seeking — clone work. And it’s not even subtle.

It gets worse. There are books on the subject. And this post is just… gross, using words like “reskinning” to obfuscate the fact that there’s a booming business in literally stealing other people’s hard work and putting your name over the top of it.

Perhaps the saddest part of it all, though, is how mechanical this all is. There’s no labour of love, extensive playtesting or market research here. Those paying the bills want games knocked out in under 72 hours, and do not want that conveyor belt to stop.

If I made games for a living, relying upon the sales of my unique idea to pay the bills, and looked at this site, I would probably cry myself to death.

I Want A Clone [Tumblr]


  • Ugh,… okay so I noticed the Flappy Bird screenshot at the top. I know you guys seem to hate that game, but what exactly is it a clone of? Or what for that matter has it been cloned into?

  • I’ve stopped playing games on my phone all together.
    Combining the amount of shitty copies (or “Clones” as they are politely called) with the sea of F2P filled with cheeky micro transactions….and trying to find a good one is pointless because all the comments and recommendations are written by people paid to say how awesome it is. The market is a muddy mess of poor quality (like going to the market expecting quality nike shoes!). all in all its ruined game apps for me. cant trust any of them. I think I’ll start using my phone as well….. a phone and look forward to my console for games.

    • I know how you feel. Every now and then I decide to have a look at what’s on offer, download some interesting looking games, give them a go, and then delete them all. The vast majority of mobile games are crap. From micro-transactions to invasive notifications (and no options to turn them off) to constant pop up ads. I’ve played games that have pop up ads popping up over the top of other pop up ads, and the developers still expects me to pay money via micro-transactions despite harassing me with ads (I’d be tempted to actually use some of the micro-transactions on some of the games, but the ads piss me off so screw ’em). Of course, these are free to play games I’m talking about. I know, you get what you pay for, but I’m hesitant to pay for any games because of the above mentioned problems (I have little faith in mobile games, so I wouldn’t be surprised to find the same problems in paid titles), not being able to trust the reviews, and because I might find that I may not enjoy the games anyway. Blugh! I think I’ll stick with console gaming. At least I know what I’m getting there.

      • Agree 100% hate micro transactions with a passion.
        No Mobile game interests me in the slightest, unless Steam enters the arena, at least you know it will be quality.

      • When you read about the fabled American Video Game Crash of 83 note the similarities; hundreds of craptacular games shat out with no development time in order to get a slice of the gold rush.

        • Shit, I never thought of that… That whole “history repeating itself” thing comes to mind…

    • Well, the argument works both ways:
      “I have stopped playing games on my PC altogether.
      Comnining the amount of poorly-done greenlit games and the sea of free-to-play MMO’s on the internet filled with cheeky microtransactions…trying to find a good one is pointless because all the reviews are one-word five star reiews that have no meaning. The market is a muddy mess of poor-quality yearly-released titles that are filled with bugs. It’s ruined PC gaming for me. I’ll just use my PC for writing word documents and surfing the internet, and look towards my portable consoles and iPad for games.”
      You can say that there are some great games on Steam (and threare) but there are also amazing titles on mobile platforms – don’t stop playing games just because some of them are done poorly.

  • I guess I am having trouble understanding why the ‘original’ creator of the ‘to-be-cloned’ game cannot use these completely unsubtle requests for cloning with lawyers to do some magic law shit and make them stop? Particularly when the ‘ads’ use things like ‘first clone this game – (link to game to be cloned)’
    “We will pay you $550 for a copy of an existing game that we then hope to scam a whole bunch of people in order to make millions on”.
    Fuck these leeches. This makes me further glad that I have not partaken in any mobile gaming, beyond the inbuilt Snake game…

  • You can say mobile games are rip-offs, but don’t tell me it exists only on the mobile market. PC games, especially now with greenlight, have some awful rip-offs.

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