Apple’s reputation for protecting big-time developers has suffered yet another rap as a fake Pokemon game that does not even work was approved for sale on their App Store and even managed to rank 2nd on the iTunes charts.
Considering the developer’s description of the app as ‘just like the original’ as opposed to the terrible user ratings, the whole thing is simply a scam.
The Pokemon Yellow app first appeared in the App Store of iOS this weekend and tons of users quickly jumped at the thought that Nintendo finally joined in the app sector, never mind that the developer name under the app is a certain ‘House of Anime’. Soon enough, people who bought the 99-cent app ended up disappointed as they discovered the game does not work because it’s just an unauthorized copy.
The developer, Daniel Burford aka House of Anime, also authored other questionable apps like YuGiOh+ and Digimon+. In his entries, he is claiming that ‘all copyrights and trademarks are owned by their respective owners’, obviously taking intellectual property rights lightly.
And most of the people who downloaded the game does not even know the it’s not official, which just shows how popular the Pokemon franchise is even after 10 years of being in the market and its first appearance in the Game Boy.
User reviews that rated the app with just one star and commented that the game does not do anything except display the title screen. And according to further reports from victims, it crashes on practically every device. It won’t be surprising if the game’s code only contains a bit of user interface to show that splash screen.
The scam has put into the spotlight Apple’s current approval procedures and guidelines that app developers always deem as mysterious and strict. Since a fake game passed their app review, Apple’s policy is not so thorough after all. They do not seem to perform any kind of legal or technical check prior to putting an app for sale on their iTunes
While it is understandable that Apple will not be able to do an extensive copyright search for each app submitted on them as it would be very difficult for reviewers to handle tons of submissions each day, it is also not good to just rely on complaints from copyright holders before they find out there are infringing apps on their store.
Fortunately, there are lessons to be learned from both parties involved after this incident. For one, Apple should not be lax in their security procedures that protect developers like Nintendo from scammers. Moreover, this should be a good proof for Nintendo that there is a lucrative market if they will only invest in making iOS versions of their bestsellers.
Eventually, Apple noticed all the commotion and pulled out the offending game from their store. Good thing they offered a refund for everybody who was tricked — just contact their customer service desk.