Guest Editorial: Kevin Dent on Lolapps v. Spry Fox

February 1, 2012 -

By Kevin Dent

I started to play Triple Town as of last weekend; I had a blast and even more so when I see that they were actively supporting it with frequent updates. Then I started to hear some rumblings in the industry about how another game basically ripped it off.

Since then, we have seen Spry Fox issue proceedings against Lolapps. Most of us have read about it and shook our heads; I want to take the rhetoric out of it. I wanted to just look at the basic facts.

When a gamer looks at a game they see art, mechanics, and fun. When I look at a title and start breaking it down into the business components and mechanic components, but I generally prefer to have a Chinese wall between the studio and I. I am not an artist, a designer or a creative. I am a business guy and my job is to figure out a way to finance the project. .

I look at both Yeti Town and Triple Town and I basically see the same title. If I put them side by side, they are exactly the same –I do see past the art and look at the wire frames and mechanics when I look at a title.

When I put those two titles side by side, I am just in awe that the guys at Escalation –which was recently bought by Lolapps- did: they were not inspired by Triple Town, it looks like they took the beta and copied it one-for- one. They didn’t even try to hide it. My view is that they were dedicated to copying every aspect of the title right down to the grid system, right down to the monetization, and indeed right down to the tutorial.

If this was just a simple case of some new guy in the industry looking at someone else’s title and thinking it was cool to copy it, that would be one thing (not great, but hey kids will be kids), but Escalation founder Shawn Green was one of the guys that worked on Doom.

 

So the fact that he would allegedly do something like this blows my mind. He knows right from wrong. I have no reason to doubt the Spry Fox guys; I believe them when they said that they gave Lolapps closed beta access and that Lolapps copied them.

On Friday I will be canvassing twitter for people to buy Triple Town on that day to help it push into the charts, so at least some justice will be done.

I would just suggest that you, dear reader; look at screens from both builds and make up your own mind, maybe Lolapps and Escalation have some magical ability to redefine what is inspiration and what is just copying another title outright with no actual regard for what is right and wrong.

 

I wrote a piece the other day suggesting that - as an industry - we do not use “what we can legally get away with” as our benchmark for being a good community citizen. How about we inch that bar up just a little bit more and set our benchmark at “simply not being dickheads?”

- Kevin Dent,
CEO, Tiswaz Entertainment.

[Kevin Dent is the chair of the IGDA Mobile SIG, CEO of Tiswaz Entertainment, and an advisory board member for PlayHaven. His views do not represent the opinions of GamePolitics or the ECA. He can be found on Twitter as @TheKevinDent.]


Comments

Re: Guest Editorial: Kevin Dent on Lolapps v. Spry Fox

Well said, Mr Dent. Sad that people still try to get away with just outright infringement. Sad and pathetic behaviour for Lolapps.

 
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