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Why people clone games?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by poncho, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. poncho

    poncho

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    I have a question, i usually wander in commercial forum, i see there are people that say, "hey i want a clone of x game, how much you charge for it?", i mean, if i make a clone about a game, it would be only for me to learn the game aspects, but i really wonder, how people can make money out of this, they ask for a clone, pay x to the developerteam(art,music,coding, ->final product), then they put it in the stores and hope it gets more money than they pay for? or they target the ads?

    I want to learn about this method, to see if i should join the boat
    thanks in advance for any comment
     
  2. Nanity

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    My only guess would be they want to create a game with comparable gameplay and want to save the trouble creating a solid base.

    In terms of reselling... I doubt this has success, either you get in trouble with copyright or it's no clone...
     
  3. MarigoldFleur

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    Because that game has proven to be a success in some way and this provides an easy market entry.
     
  4. Jaimi

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    Because it is easier to take ideas, than to come up with something new.
     
  5. khanstruct

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    It typically has nothing to do with commercial success. Its people who played the game and loved it. Then, they either didn't want it to end, or they had a "great idea" of something new that could be added to it.

    Since the developers aren't catering to their fantasy, they decide to go out and do it themselves. Of course, they typically discover that there was a very good reason that their "great idea" wasn't in the game, and also that making games is a lot harder than playing them.
     
  6. fbgbdk4

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    Why people clone games I don't know.

    Companies clone games to make money.
     
  7. poncho

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    well i kinda wanted to go into that, how companies make money from a cloned game?, i could clone games to learn, but being able to make money out of it, well, does not sound too bad
     
  8. lmbarns

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    Look at Zynga. They don't design anything just clone whatever's selling and have been successful in doing so...they even settle claims from those they clone and still make money.
     
  9. kablammyman

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    +1

    sounds like you got this answer from my 15yr old self, lol.
     
  10. imaginaryhuman

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    Proven success is less of a risk. If someone has done something first and have pioneered and are innovative and it proves to be a big hit, what that means is you know there are a lot of people attracted to that concept/idea/model/product/whatever and it's a hot thing, and especially if it's new with not much cloning done already, there is a big incentive to `copy` the concept maybe with a slight twist, because you know that it should get almost as much attention/success as the original. Your copy may not be original at all, may only have a few slight differences or cosmetic changes etc, but the hope is that you already know that the product has proven to be successful before you even release it, reducing risk tremendously and giving you some assurance/figures to base your business on.

    You might not get recognition as an innovator, maybe even some negativity from being a `knock off` or copycat, but also there will be a lot of people who never knew the original design existed and maybe just found yours and think you are the one with the original idea. So there you go.... it can be an easier, less glamorous path. It also can save a lot of time designing stuff and figuring out what works - someone else has already put in the R&D hours for you and given you a sophisticated working prototype. On of your strategies then might be to identify pockets of markets who are unaware of the original or don't have access to it (e.g a new platform) where you can release a very similar game and be thought of as original within that space.

    So I think it's more to do with people `wanting a slice of that pie` when they see people flocking to something new, they want to syphon off some of the traffic and capitalize on the interest from that audience. Hence innovators like Apple (in most people's eyes at least) get copied after iPod, iPhone, iPad, etc. and you see a whole new social shift toward these things, not just the original models but all these copycats and similar products. ie they see there is enough meat on the carcass for more than one mouth to feed.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
  11. kingcharizard

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    for me a learning experience..
     
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  12. sama-van

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    More clone they want, more paid job we'll have :)
     
  13. ViolentWolf

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    I agree that for a learning experience, it is an okay route. But ultimately to much of a clone can get really annoying. For an example, Call of Duty.
    With much success a lot of developers pay good money to make a nearby clone. To me it gets kind of annoying after awhile, I don't want to play too many shooters that are lackluster quality that merely mimics a great success story to a great franchise. A few clones is okay, but too many of them makes me tiresome of the genre. If anything, adding originality to it would keep them from boring me of playing a similar gaming experience.
    Reasons why gamers always ask for something new and surprising. I'd say that the producers of CoD already perfected their craft, or maybe in need of small improvements but that comes with each released sequel of a franchise. I don't really see the need in a copy unless you got something interesting going on with the game itself. Then again just my opinion.
     
  14. I am da bawss

    I am da bawss

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    Cloning?
    You only need to learn from the best.

    ZYNGA, GAMELOFT, GLU MOBILE, all the AAA FPS Shooters, etc etc. Practically every major studio (and majority of App Store).

    And its NOT a crime - you can't patent game mechanics. So ripping out game mechanics and putting on a fresh coat of paint, a new story, and most importantly, a NEW NAME (because name can be trademarked and thus you can be sued and lose if you use same/similar words in your title) and you pretty much got a new game you can get away with it.

    Better yet! Clone games that can't be trademarked! Eg. Slender Man (its Public Domain as far as I know) right off the bat you got an awesome title already!! The world can't get enough Slender Man! Just look at App Store!
    http://appshopper.com/search/?cat=&platform=all&device=all&sort=rel&dir=asc&search=Slender

    Copying/Cloning is not a crime. :D Heck, the whole success of this industry is built ON TOP of cloning. The PC you use? IBM PC Clone! The operating system, the word processor, the spreadsheet...Microsoft excelled at cloning their competitors until they all go out of business! This is the age of cloning! You really don't need to look very far to find justification.
     
  15. Blacklight

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    I can think of four reasons:
    -A cashgrab.
    -They loved the concept and wish to expand upon it.
    -As a learning experience.
    -To lower the risk of a poor reception.
     
  16. Aiursrage2k

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    Take for example zombie ville, someone makes a worse clone of it and gets over 5 million installs (free), compared to someone who makes a game based on i (he only gets 100k). You might change something that makes the game worse, cloning the product means there is less risk you will somehow screw it up (you know the recipe is good you dont want to change it).
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/...vbS5hY2V2aXJhbC5maXJzdHR2aW5ueXRoZXZpa2luZyJd
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/...sMSwyLDEsImNvbS5yb2lkZ2FtZS56b21iaWV2aWxsZSJd
     
  17. poncho

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    You do write like a bawss
    thank you for your point of view!
    i think i should clone some games, but what kind of monetization type is the best for indies? ads, 1dollar app, in-app purchase?
     
  18. MarigoldFleur

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    Slender Man isn't public domain at all. It's why Faceless (formerly Slender: Source) still hasn't been greenlit.
     
  19. n0mad

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    Edit : I'm talking about 1:1 cloning here.

    In term of market penetration, clones just plainly suck at refreshing the playerbase.

    Booming audience, aka growth, was always far stronger with new game designs than with rehashes.
    It doesn't get a top analyst to see that, just by looking at how started the most popular genres. Or just by playing the goddamn games instead of staring at those bank account graphs.

    Cloning is cheap, nobody learns anything from it (except how to live in the shadow of someone else), and it doesn't push videogames culture forward, only backward. It's just adding some noise to an already overcrowded market.
    On the production side, it may serve cash gluttons and fame surfers, but it certainly doesn't serve the gaming community at all.
    It should never be encouraged.

    edit : yeah clones make me grumpy :/
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2014
  20. I am da bawss

    I am da bawss

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    So, what kind of ground breaking game are you making n0mad? ;)
     
  21. n0mad

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    I don't know, and you, what kind of Zynga millionaire are you ? ;)
    (because getting personal will undoubtedly elevate the debate, right ?)

    There's a difference between inspiration, and litterally cloning. I thought I wouldn't have to mention that.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
  22. khanstruct

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    I played Dragon Wars on MySpace, when Zynga was still a nobody (and they had 400 different kinds of spam ads). When they started releasing a dozen different clones of that crap game, it annoyed me. When they landed a $10 million investment because of it, I lost my grip.
     
  23. n0mad

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    Cloning is evil incarnate, lol :)

    Really, I shouldn't be that grumpy about this subject, I know. But what tickles me is that, as a matter of fact, the more budget a project has (so the more groundbreaking it could be) ... the more it clones and rehashes from other proven successes.

    I mean, why do we have to rely mostly on Indies for creativity and new game designs ?

    Speaking purely as a gamer here.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
  24. Starsman Games

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    If you were to gamble at a boxing match (lets assume it's legal) who would you bet the big money towards? The guy with the highest odds of winning or the underdog that everyone predicts will lose?

    Usually, only the true fans will bet for the underdog, or people that think they can get away with a small gamble that will return huge wins (the guy with the lower bets tends to pay off best should he win.)

    It's the same in gaming. The big bucks go into safe bets. The risky stuff, that only get small investments. You got to keep in mind, when you dealing wit multiple of millions of dollars, and the jobs of hundreds of people, you don't want to go ideological and toss all your money at risky unproven experiments.
     
  25. n0mad

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    Nice analogy :)
    Which is perfect for my point : thing is, in game industry, those who predicted the underdog to fail seem to never have taken the time to really analyze him, or even watch him. Worst : they don't even know what a stance is.

    (but that was a really nice analogy)
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
  26. Starsman Games

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    Actually, usually they have. You don't need to do much else than look at their win/loose ratios, and the win/lose ratio of those he lost or won against.

    Even if you analyze the "potential" of a new game experiment idea, you will never know it's full market potential until you test it out in the real world. A great example (many hate when it's brought up) is Mirror's Edge. It's an example of EA investing heavy money on an experiment, and it blowing up in their faces. Players (mass market needed for it to be successful) were just not interested in such an experimental thing.

    At the end of the day, many interesting games should be treated as many independent or foreign low budget films are: limited budget, limited risk, but recoupable given the smaller niche market.
     
  27. n0mad

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    This is incredibly spot on Thars, because Mirror's Edge was my favorite FPS of all time. And usually I'm really not into FPSes.

    So am I doomed ? :/
     
  28. Starsman Games

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    Did you take a second mortgage to finance your game, or did you develop it on your free time?

    If the first one... you better get yourself a publisher like Crescent Moon or BulkyPix that will do some marketing for you.

    If the later: who cares? You got to put out your cool game and YOU get to brag about it. If you hit big, great, if not, still great!

    Oh and also, big tip: go multi platform as soon as possible. Don't mean Android, I mean Mac. Maybe PC too if Unity gets Win8 support soon or if you willing to setup your own digital store. On the Android Front, never hurts to do a Nook release. People that get Nooks seem to appreciate the value of stuff and actually open their wallets. Heck.. I think after all these months now I am averaging more per month from Nook than from iOS (got to check those numbers, stopped looking after I did my taxes.)
     
  29. khanstruct

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    Actually, that's the perfect example. Mirror's Edge was experimental, and they did put a lot of money into it. And, in my opinion, they made a great game! Unfortunately, most people didn't understand it, because it wasn't Call of Duty enough. So they didn't buy it.

    That would have been fine (and another astounding success story) had they not dumped all that money into it. Because of the expense that was invested in it, it HAD to appeal to the mass market. It needed those numbers in order to turn a profit. The sad truth is, the mass market buys things that are familiar.

    The only way for something like that to take off is for a low budget team to build an experimental idea. If its a small success, great! It made money. Now, someone with a little more money will come along and do it a little better. By this time, more people have heard of this game, so they may take the chance to drop their money on it. (If not, the game dies there).

    If this elevated version ALSO makes money (and draws some serious hype), then and only then, will a major developer consider putting real money into it. Even then, its a risk. They're hoping that more than enough people have heard of this last iteration of the game, and are waiting for a AAA version of it. If the big developer moves too soon, not enough people will buy the game, and it will fail (even if millions of people did buy it).
     
  30. Starsman Games

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  31. n0mad

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    Ah, those were incredible advices, thanks Thars :)

    Although, I should have been more specific when writing "am I doomed ?" :

    I meant :
    Am I doomed, as a gamer ? (it's kind of tough to be heard purely as a gamer when you're a dev)

    Am I doomed to see that majority of gamers prefer fancy over mechanics ? to see that it's been 7 years since I'm waiting for my favorite genre, mmorpgs, to break the World of Warcraft reproduction cycle ?
    To see that in the only case where an FPS, Mirror's Edge, a game from a genre I'm not usually fond of, attracts me so much but is considered as an underdog in the end ? Am I doomed as a gamer to be unable to finish any single AAA solo game I purchased since a few years, because at one point in time, I'm seeing the "Rinse Repeat" pattern, putting game mechanics enjoyment in a little box and never touch it again ?

    I'm sounding like a drama queen and I don't like that, but really, I've been a videogame glutton for 25 years now, started at age 8, and I never felt so much redundancy in creativity than recently. You may think it's because I'm simply burnt out on videogames, but is there such a thing as being burnt out by a whole media industry ? I never heard of people being burnt out by movies, for example. Right now the best answer I found about this problem is to do like a lot of people who are deceived : to simply stop playing, and find other hobbies. And I don't like this idea.


    Also, +1 to Khanstruct's post.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
  32. PrimeDerektive

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    To make that a fair comparison, the underdog might have a time-traveling spinning uppercut double jump punch that no one had ever done before... his originality might affect betting behaviors :)
     
  33. Starsman Games

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    The MMO world is finally departing the WoW formula drastically. Games like Secret World are very different. The upcoming Never Winter Night and Elder Scroll Online MMOs look amazing and insanely different experiences to what we been used so far. Both seem to be taking the action based aspects of Guild Wars 2 to a new level.

    But MMOs are an expensive thing, and they will always cater to the masses. For other games, if you like the fancy stuff, there will be always indie games. Mobile is likely going to be where you get your fancy gaming food, but also the App Store or Steam's Indie sections. You will just have to expect to seek them out instead of bumping into huge multi-million dollar ad campaigns that let you know they exists.

    I don't know your taste, but there are quite a few fun games out there. As I get older (not too far ahead of you) I have lost tolerance for overly long games with generic plot lines and repetitive tasks... but darn it did I have fun with Saint Row The Third these past 2 weeks! Has some repetition in the side missions, but the absurdity and hilarious nature of the plot just kept me going. There is something to say about a game that does not take itself too seriously!

    In fact, more than niches, more than overuse of FPS or even Zombie memes, I think, as a player, the thing that bothers me much is how too many games take themselves so frigging seriously. Where is the gaming equivalent of the big budget comedy movie? Why must all big budget gaming be around serious themes? And why didn't THQ put more emphasis on the comedy behind the Saint Row's comedy!!! I never gave that series a try because I always thought it was just a GTA clone! Darn was it fun AND funny...
     
  34. Aiursrage2k

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    They took a gamble and lost, thats there problem look at valve who made portal or LA Noire. Just because its experimental doesnt mean its any good, I didnt pick up mirrors edge not because I didnt "get it" but rather because it didnt look appealing to me.
     
  35. Starsman Games

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    Portal was not a huge bet. It was just the staff monkeying around with the Halflife engine (heck, I found it funny the other day I was playing it and got an error that referred to the game as Halflife.) Again, that's how experimentation should be done: side projects with little investment. If it works, you invest big on the sequel.

    LA Noire... well the studio went bankrupt. Game did well, but not well enough to cover the 5 years of development (there is a lot of talk of mismanagement involved.)
     
  36. n0mad

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    Oh dude, please don't mention the name of GW2 if you don't want my heart to stop instantly :/

    I'll just leave this thread link here, as a perfect illustration about what-are-announced-to-be-great-and-original mmos systematically fall into WoWization after release :

    http://forum-en.guildwars2.com/forum/game/gw2/Does-this-video-ring-true-for-you
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2013
  37. Starsman Games

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    For the record: not played GW2, just seen the combat system in action. That's what I was talking about.
     
  38. n0mad

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    Yeah no worries :)
    Actually Combat system previews blogs were what sold me GW2 ... So, seeing how they totally went 180° from that will to break grounds not even 2 monthes after release, it's like ... I don't know ... a girlfriend cheating on you ? :p
     
  39. Jop_V

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    I hate you. :'(
     
  40. lazygunn

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    The only game i put on Play is a clone. It's free and it's how I learnt unity and c# and it was done for those reasons and as a homage to mark cernys work. I even credit him for the game. The game isnt mine, just the presentation as a clone
     
  41. AndrewGrayGames

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    In addition to a financial easy button, it's the same reason that people draw Pokemon or cover music - A) they like the thing enough to want to reproduce it, and B) they want to master the piece in question. The ability to write a Pokemon clone dosen't 'just' imply that you're a pokemaniac (actually, it implies you're a super-geek, but that's beside the point); it also provides a chance to encounter some of the same limitations that the original developers hit, both in terms of technology, but also in game design and rules.

    That's why my latest completed project is a Zelda 2 clone; I liked the game, saw shortcomings in the ruleset and implementations, and tried to approach the game as a partial reproduction, partial improvement, partial shout-out to a game that I enjoy. Did I do it well? I think so, but I also think I could've done it better in a few places.
     
  42. BrainMelter

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    It's not just games. People clone in most other industries too.

    Car companies are a good example. For ages they all copied the same basic combustion engine design. Now that hybrids are becoming more popular, they copy those too. The same will happen with electric ...

    The problem is, the first company to do research on a new tech loses a lot of money on R&D, so that puts them at a disadvantage.

    Then another company comes in and copies / improves it. The second company often wins at the first's expense.
     
  43. Heu

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    Cloning a game is like dating that dumb hot chick. It's easy and the rewards are big, but in the end everyone will criticize you...
     
  44. BrainMelter

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    But they'll still want to be you because you've got a hot chick.
     
  45. WhendricSo

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    I was asked just today to clone a game for a client. Then, they were super worried I would steal their game idea and withdrew!

    Not sure what he's so afraid of. The game concept is already been copied, and it's not even a very good game!

    Personally, I don't make clones. If I like a game I sometimes incorporate parts of it, but I've always been against direct cloning because it doesn't advance the art of game development one iota.

    So, the answer is usually that these people are irrational, or have deep pockets and want a custom game, or in some cases are trying to turn a quick buck. I wouldn't recommend anyone jump on this bandwagon, because the wagon's already full.
     
  46. yourHost

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    I think people clone games to try to cash in on the success of the said game. I also think that others clone games to build on top of and try to improve from the game they are cloning.

    Cloning breeds competition and variety. There are a lot of good ideas out there and we the gamers benefit from it at the end.

    For a more thorough answer, check out my opinion on it in the latest Unity3D News Show:http://bit.ly/1mtYi4g
     
  47. Jzmallz

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    Some big companies clone games to make a profit off of it. Others clone games because they think that the concept is good, but they believe that they can improve the game that they cloned.
     
  48. TylerPerry

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    Because a commercially successful game nearly always is balanced and has all the design perfect.
     
  49. Photon-Blasting-Service

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    Skip to about 2:00 in
     
  50. BrainMelter

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    Interesting, but needs some context. The talk was given in Jan 2012, when Zynga was near its MAU peak. A few months later, they purchased "Draw Something" for a ton of cash. A few months after that, they began their nose dive.

    Copying games was probably the smartest strategy for Zynga at the beginning. They were the first big company to push the social media space hard. Since that space was mostly empty at the time, pushing out a game with a proven formula made a lot of sense. Playing games with all your Facebook friends was something new, so the games remained fresh for a while.

    Unfortunately, the strategy isn't so applicable now. People are getting bored of their games, and other companies (eg. those Candy Crush guys) have entered the space too. So I think Zynga will have to do more innovation on its own if it wants to survive.
     
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