What does it take for something to be a clone? PUBG and the Battle Royale genre have been addressing this issue in various ways. However, looking past the biggest players, what about when an idea is seemingly taken from a small developer whose game isn't even out yet?
Ben Esposito has been working for the last five years on a game called Donut County. In the game you play as a hole that grows as it eats things. The bigger you get, the bigger things you can eat. He's set to release the game later this year, but a company called Voodoo.io has just released a very similar game on the app store called hole.io and skyrocketed to the top. Right now they're sitting as the number one downloadable arcade game.
After working so hard on his own game he had a few choice words about the situation which he shared on Twitter on Monday. "It stings a little after 5+ years of convincing people a game about a hole in the ground is a good idea..." Although overall he seemed to realize there wasn't much he could do and instead was going to focus on his own game and hope that all the effort shines through. "Ultimately I think there's enough room for both games on the app store. Ispent the last 5 years crafting Donut County's unique charm, sense of humor, and painstakingly handcrafted levels. You can't really rip that stuff off imo."
Although he did have a warning to other developers as Voodoo.io just got a $200 million investment from Goldman Sachs. "... we're prob gonna see a lot more situations like this. Their algorithmic approach to game dev (get pitches, test retention, publish) produces successful games for them...it also encourages devs to make quick copies of games like mine."
This isn't the first time Voodoo.io has copied other games. They release F2P games that are usually just asset flips centered around the main idea of the game without any of the effort put in. It's clearly working though as $200 million is nothing to sneeze at. What do you think? Is this an issue, or does it resolve itself with effort winning in the end?