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A clone of the upcoming game Donut County is currently sitting at the top of the App Store, prompting developer Ben Esposito to Tweet about an issue many other devs will likely experience after (or leading up to) the launch of a title surrounded by lots of excitement.
This is just the latest instance in a longstanding issue of indie games being blatantly copied, as duplicates popping up on the market happens quite frequently to the detriment of the original developers.
Titled hole.io, the iOS and android clone was published by Voodoo.io, a company notorious for creating free-to-play versions of independent games.
In some cases, knockoff versions of these games wind up generating more popularity than their original counterparts.
“There are differences,” writes Esposito. “Donut County is a story-based puzzle game, and Hole.io combines the premise of Donut County [...] with the ‘.io’ king of the hill formula.”
Esposito also mentions initially resisting the idea of discussing hole.io as it would bring more attention to the clone, but Voodoo.io recently acquired a $200 million investment from Goldman Sachs, prompting him to speak out.
He goes on to say that this situation will probably continue, as “[Voodoo’s] algorithmic approach to game dev produces successful games for them [...] it also encourages their devs to make quick copies of games like mine."
Esposito acknowledges that while there's not much he can do about the clone, he's focusing instead on finishing Donut County.