Loot Drop: We had a game cloned before a line of code had been written

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By Kathleen De Vere Comment

Loot Drop COO and game designer Brenda Garno Brathwaite calls cloning “disgusting,” revealing her company’s first-hand experience with the practice.

“We had a meeting with a publisher and a game designer discussed an idea for a game,” Brathwaite said during the Trends in Social Gaming panel at Inside Social Apps conference. “The publisher came back next week and said they’d be making the game and they might need us to consult on it. That game had been cloned before a line of code had even been written.”

Brathwaite spoke frankly, calling out the social games industry for its “fast-follow” mentality. “In the traditional space, a great game would come out and you would say ‘how can we make a game that good and improve on that?’ What we have now is ‘how can we change the narrative and make the same game?’ That’s like putting out the Peaches of Wrath rather than the Grapes of Wrath. In any other medium it would be considered a tremendous fail and I think it’s because the space is about monetization and not about creativity,” she said.

The issue of cloning in the social and mobile games space has come up numerous times in the news recently. Triple Town developer Spry Fox is suing 6waves Lolapps over the similarities between its game and 6waves’ Yeti Town, and San Diego-based NimbleBit criticized Zynga for its upcoming game Dream Heights, pointing out numerous similarities between the two titles. During EA’s third quarter earnings call the company was reluctant to reveal details about its upcoming slate of social games, citing the need to protect its intellectual property.

You can read our recap of the Trends in Social Gaming panel here.

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