How to remove your competition...

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by luggage, Oct 24, 2009.

  1. Jack Norton

    Indie Author

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    closed platform power! :D
     
  2. kevintrepanier

    Original Member Indie Author

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    It sounded hard enough to get some success on the iPhone, and here's another nail in the coffin...
     
  3. Julio Gorge

    Original Member

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    Wow… just wow.
     
  4. Musenik

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    Pure F'ing E.
     
  5. jmcginley

    Original Member

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    I don't own either game.
    However, I did look at the games on YouTube:

    Stone Loops iPhone Review
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGH5W2bxuuk

    Luxor 3 - presumably PC
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WRmHRdESzQ

    They look like EXACTLY the same game.
    I can tell a difference between Puzz Loop and Zuma (production value).
    I can tell a difference between Zuma and Luxor (center vs. paddle).
    I can't tell a difference between these.

    Has anyone played them, are they overwhelmingly similar?
    If they are, what's the problem here?
    This forum typically has little sympathy for clones.

    - - -
    It it the potential problems this could lead to?
    Is it the fact Mumbo Jumbo ripped off Zuma and Puzz Loop
    so they got what was coming to them?
    Is it that gameplay can't be copyrighted or patented so suck it up?

    If Petri complained about blatant iPhone Crayon Physics ripoffs,
    I would hope Apple would take it down if he complained.
    Is that wrong?

    If someone ported my game to the iPhone before me,
    I would hope Apple would take it down if I complained.
    Is that wrong?

    I'm also wondering why the Stone Loops guys
    couldn't make a more original bloody game to begin with.
    Is that wrong?
     
  6. aiursrage2k

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  7. Dyno Kid

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    Lets not forget the original zuma (the one popcap cloned) cant remember the name of the top of my head but remember seeing it in Edge magazine and it came out years before zuma....can you imagine if this happened on the casual portals we would have approx 10 games to play lol.

    But seriously bad luck, hope they fight back and win.

    Darren.
     
  8. GolfHacker

    GolfHacker Member

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    I'll never buy anything from Mumbo Jumbo again.

    In fact, I'll do one better - I am going to remove all of their games from my site (assuming I've affiliated any of them through Reflexive or PlayFirst).
     
  9. MFS

    MFS New Member

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    From a business standpoint, I would have to think this should be all about the legal side, copyright infringement. From what I can tell (not a lawyer mind you) I don't think Mumbo Jumbo has any basis for their claims. The art isn't infringed, the code is (presumably) not infringed, the names are different and I don't see Stone Loops using the protected Luxor trademark to profit their business. As for the general mechanic - I doubt there would be any legal recourse possible even if Luxor was the most original example of such gameplay (I'm not aware of many game mechanic patents) but it is obviously not even that. So it comes off as a company with deep pockets picking on a smaller company with less than deep pockets where the mediator has effectively backed down. Sounds pretty raw to me.

    From a personal standpoint, Stone Loops is to Luxor as Gears of War is to Doom. In the first set of games you shoot a ball into a color coded chain of balls to make matches; in the second set of games you shoot monsters with a variety of guns. Where's the difference? The idea of copyrighting or patenting game mechanics to me is preposterous. You have a great idea? It's probably not unique and the bottom line is, it's all about the execution. A great idea can be turned into a pile of rubble or a pile of gold and that doesn't matter how unique the idea is. Having the idea first and executing it to perfection is ideal of course, but rare, at best. I love when I find a unique, polished, fun game -- but not much more than I love playing a well executed Diablo clone (*cough*Titan's Quest*cough*.)

    I think clones are a natural part of progress for the industry in whole. I would rather have a pile of marble popper games to choose from and pick the one that most appealed to me then be stuck with one marble popper, one FPS, one RTS etc. for the rest of my life. If you could patent shooting a ball into a chain of moving balls to make matches, why couldn't you patent a game where you have a character who runs with the 'dpad' and jumps with the 'b button' who collects gold coins? That just makes no sense to me and I think our industry would be the worse for it.
     
  10. luggage

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I can tell the difference, there's a different theme for a start.
    They're part of the same "jewel popper" genre. It's like comparing the gameplay of Quake and Halo.

    I don't mind clones, we wouldn't be here making games if it weren't for the industry and it's early roots were based on that. We all stand on the shoulders of giants.

    In what way has Mumbo Jumbo been hurt?
    Is it that gameplay can't be copyrighted or patented so suck it up?[/QUOTE]It could lead to all sorts of problems as it sets a dangerous precedent. Despite having no legal basis from what I can see the small guy still has his game removed. You can't copyright or patent a game design yet this is how they've tried (and succeeded) in getting the game removed. Should Popcap complain to Apple and get Mumbo Jumbo's game removed? And then should Puzz Loop creator complain to Apple and get Zuma removed? I think it's pretty distasteful that a game this is so blatant a clone of a clone is trying to draw a line and say "well, it's good for us but sorry you're not allowed to and we have the cash to make sure that's the case".

    Yes. It would be wrong. It's just a complaint - it should have legal basis not just a "I don't like them having it on there".

    Yes. If they named it differently, did all their own art and code and came up with their own version then no, Apple shouldn't take it down.

    That's their decision, I trust your game's going to be completely original then?

    Basically, it boils down to a company who is making cash from cloning games is trying to stop others from cloning theirs. And they're using financial clout to make it happen. This stinks.
     
  11. Acord

    Acord New Member

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    This is utter crap. I just perused the article, but if

    A.) They've failed to enforce copyright for the past number of years and
    B.) You aren't using their graphics and name and sounds

    I think you should go ahead and get a lawyer or two willing to prosecute for fame and a percentage to kick both companies in their legal gonads.

    This already has a famous precedent: Donkey Kong. Originally, Nintendo was sued because of the similarities to King Kong by Universal Studios.

    Nintendo fought it and won EASILY. It was decided that since Universal hadn't appropriately enforced the copyright on a number of other instances that they had NO RIGHT to enforce it. The lawyers on the case were Howard Lincoln, who you might remember as being the face of NOA in the old Howard and Nester comics way back when, and John Kirby - who it is believed Nintendo named their character after.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donkey...l_City_Studios.2C_Inc._v._Nintendo_Co..2C_Ltd.

    So, if they've been content to ignore your efforts for this long and have not sued ALL indie/casual games that work along the same vein, they really don't have a case. You should get lawyers that are willing to prosecute for percentages immediately and screw both companies hard.
     
  12. CasualInsider

    CasualInsider New Member

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    MumboJumbo made a very big mistake with this.
     
  13. jmcginley

    Original Member

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    Note: I have no idea how this reply got so long.
    I've tried to keep it concise and believe it's worth reading.


    "Stone Loops is to Luxor as Gears of War is to Doom."
    "It's like comparing the gameplay of Quake and Halo."

    I would never mistake Gears of War for Doom,
    Halo gameplay for Quake gameplay,
    or Donkey Kong for King Kong.
    I doubt the public or a judge would either.

    "The art isn't infringed, the code is (presumably) not infringed, the names are different
    and I don't see Stone Loops using the protected Luxor trademark to profit their business."

    I highly doubt the code was stolen.
    However, while the names are different,
    and Stone Loops is not using the protected Luxor trademark,
    I would swear that Stone Loops and Luxor were the same game.
    (based on the YouTube videos)
    Splice the levels into one video and I'd believe I was looking at the same game.

    That's why I asked: "Has anyone played them, are they overwhelmingly similar?"
    luggage mentioned he can tell a difference by the videos.
    i get the impression that others feel that's beside the point.
    For me, that's the ENTIRE point.

    At what point do you call a game the same game?
    That's simply wrong. It's indefensible.
    Since they appear to be the same game (a blatant clone),
    why all the support for Stone Loops?

    - - -
    Other Stuff

    "In what way has Mumbo Jumbo been hurt?"

    If a copy of your game is released before your game, of course it hurts sales.
    If I bought Stone Loops, why would I buy Luxor when I already own it?
    According to Stone Loops, being released on the iPhone before Luxor was a large factor in their success.

    "So it comes off as a company with deep pockets picking on a smaller company"
    "... the small guy still has his game removed."

    I am curious what the feelings would be if things were the other way around.
    i.e. Stone Loops prevented Mumbo Jumbo from selling a blatant clone of their game.

    "I don't mind clones,
    we wouldn't be here making games if it weren't for the industry
    and it's early roots were based on that.
    We all stand on the shoulders of giants."

    This industry's early roots were not based on what Stone Loops did.
    Otherwise, the arcades I frequently visited would have been filled with games I couldn't tell apart.
    I'm saying Stone Loops (based on the videos) blatantly cloned Luxor.
    I'm not saying that Serious Sam blatantly cloned Doom,
    Geometry Wars blatantly cloned Robotron,
    or Puppy Invaders blatantly cloned Space Invaders.
    A cloning distinction needs to be made,
    otherwise we're all cloners on par with Stone Loops.
    We're not. I use the word "blatant" to distinguish.

    - - -
    Final Thought

    "I'm also wondering why the Stone Loops guys
    couldn't make a more original bloody game to begin with.
    Is that wrong?"
    "That's their decision,
    I trust your game's going to be completely original then?"

    Completely original?!
    I'm going to dwell on this statement since, at its heart,
    I believe this thinking is a pillar of support for Stone Loops.
    i.e. We're all guilty of cloning, so we'd be hypocrites to call out a blatant cloner.

    According to question that was posed,
    in order for me to say that Stone Loops could have made a more original bloody game
    (that I can distinguish from Luxor)
    all my games must be "completely original".
    Does that mean if my games remind anyone of any game ever made
    that I'm just as guilty of cloning as Stone Loops?
    That seems... extreme.
    Shameless Plug: Check out my clones at www.bigpants.ca today!

    For the record, I consider my games original and unique.
    "Completely original" is pushing it, because what does that even mean?
    i.e. My games typically make use of the arrow keys, for some that negates "completely"
    Additionally, from what I've seen, all the members of indiegamer
    should consider their games original and unique as well.
    If not, we have a bigger problem and should probably address the self loathing issue first.

    The creator of Crayon Physics was forced to rush
    his iPhone version out to beat the clones.
    He wound up creating an inferior version
    (that was subsequently fixed).
    http://fingergaming.com/tag/crayon-physics/
    Saying blatant cloning is fine means accepting this situation.
    I find this hard to accept.
     
  14. MFS

    MFS New Member

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    I think the length is fine :) You've brought up healthy points that have made the discussion more relevant. Even for us who disagree, I respect your opinion, want to hear it, and am happy to read novels.

    My original point wasn't clear here, so I'll revisit. I was trying to point out that this is a never ending rabbit hole. My example was extreme, but in all honestly, Stone Loops is no more or less similar to Luxor than Luxor is to Zuma to me. What can tangibly be qualified as not enough of a difference between 2 games to get a court of law to say that one has infringed on the other? Adding a paddle? That's all Luxor did over Zuma, but they are the same game to me. I've played all 3 and have owned all 3 at one point or another (PC only, not iPhone.) To me, all 3 are 99.99% the exact same game, but I enjoyed them all. Stone Loops wasn't my favorite, but in several aspects I think it is superior to Luxor. I still prefer Zuma, but meh.

    And my wife would say that Crysis and Doom 3 are the same game if she watched trailers on youtube or even tried to play them (for all of 5 seconds.) In terms of legality, I think this is completely irrelevant. There was no copyright infringement and no one has shown Mumbo Jumbo has any kind of patent on the underlying mechanic, if that is even possible in this case. Thus the removal of Stone Loops is 100% unjustified. It is simply unfair treatment.

    I'd maintain the same position. BOTH games have the right to exist. To think one is special because it was first to be made or first to market is ludicrous IMHO, although the latter obviously has financial boon. Good on Codeminion for getting on the iPhone first IMO.

    I don't buy that. I remember arcades being filled with frogger/space invader/centipede clones. The first consoles were just as susceptible and it has been a prevalent practice ever since. It is how genres are perfected IMO -- a core idea is copied and refined and you end up several games later with that idea perfected. Thus the industry actually 'progresses' by 'staying in the same place'. If you can make it perfect on the first try, great, but that is very rare.

    It is definitely blatant, but I don't think that means that the game shouldn't be allowed to exist (in a commercial form) nor that there is legal grounding to prevent sales of said blatant game. Again, to me, Luxor is a blatant rip-off of Zuma. I liked both :)

    I'm happy that you can make games that are at least somewhat unique (I'll check them shortly) -- seriously. I can't honestly say that any game I've worked on (console/mobile/PC) was very unique. I hope to make something truly earth shattering some day like that, but in the mean time, I'm OK with making a living refining and expanding well known, commercially viable genres.

    Edit: I got my wife's opinion since she loves Zuma to death. The verdict: Zuma, Luxor, Stone Loops, and Atlantis Sky Patrol are all different games that play exactly the same way. Just thrown in FWIW.

    Edit 2: Atlantis Sky Patrol (also available on iPhone) trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIS0VYKsrMk
     
    #15 MFS, Oct 25, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2009
  15. Jack Norton

    Indie Author

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    Yes I bet they won't take down Atlantis since wasn't published by a "small dev" but by BFG ;)
     
  16. jcottier

    jcottier New Member

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    jmcginley, I think when you hear the word casual, you just get sick don't you? Why is it that hard to understand that they are genre in the casual field? Come on, when I wash a youtube video of PES or FIFA, I can't tell the different between the 2 games. And what about the numerous WWW FPS games? What about the fantasy RPG games? Even the so call TRUE indie, if you look at their games, I'll swear they looks like copycat of games released 20 years ago. So, if you copy something old, you call it ART but if it's recent you call it CRAP.

    Yes, the game do look similar (haven't play them BTW). But this is just because we are not expert of the genre. Check the net and you will see people actually comparing both games and defending witch one is better than the other (and that's also true with HOG).

    What happen to Codeminion stinks big time, and it's the perfect forum to discuss such an issue. How can you not simpathize for them?

    JC
     
  17. Deva

    Deva New Member

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    [​IMG]


    YouTube Video of 1998 game, Puzz Loop:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=661e8w1kLps

    Puzz Loop Commentary on Wikipedia:
    The success of Puzz Loop lead to a number of clones with similar gameplay from other companies including Zuma, the Luxor series, Tumblebugs, Potpourrii, Butterfly Escape and Loco. Mitchell alleges that Zuma, one of the more popular clones, directly infringes on their intellectual property. In reply, Zuma developer PopCap Games asserts that their game is "not an exact clone", but an elaboration of Mitchell's original idea.

    My Comments:
    It sounds like Luxor wasn't getting the sales they wanted, otherwise Mumbo Jumbo likely wouldn't have had to resort to this kind of action. I agree that this is a bad precedent to set, as there are so many games out there that could be considered clones of one another. Bad move.
     
  18. Scharlo

    Original Member

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    Totally agree with this. This is actually a good opportunity not only to set the precedent on AppStore but to also get you back the money you lost by not selling your game. You should be able to find the lawyer that will represent you for a minimal fee as the publicity and outcome are given.
     
  19. Dyno Kid

    Indie Author

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    Thanks Deva, i couldnt remember what it was called so.....the makers of Puzz Loop make an iphone version of this wipe all the clones off the app store and make a killing?

    Should be possible with whats just happened.

    Darren.
     

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