A fake Pokémon game soared to number 2 on the charts at the Apple App Store this week, before being removed from the store.
The fake game, which was priced at 99¢, was called “Pokémon Yellow.” The Pokémon franchise is owned by Nintendo. But the developer listed on this game was ‘House of Anime,’ who has apparently developed and sold questionable apps in the past. According to Ars Technica, ‘House of Anime’ has a history of taking game concepts from other developers and remaking them into games that are changed enough to get around copyright infringements. Example apps they provided include Digimon+ and YuGiOh+.
But in the case of “Pokémon Yellow,” whole characters and screenshots were taken from the original “Pokémon” game. Clearly a violation of copyright laws. Ars Technica also reported that further investigation into the app found that it contained Pokémon news feeds and YouTube videos, no actual game.
Users who purchased the app reported in the reviews that it would crash when opened, and most gave it the lowest possible rating.
Apparently that did not dissuade those who wanted the game though. Gaming trade site Develop estimates that ‘House of Anime’ likely raked in far more than $10,000 before the game was taken out of the Apple App Store. Develop points out that the fake game was an international hit, ranking in the top 3 spots in Apple App Stores in Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Singapore, Sweden and the UK.
Interestingly enough, ‘House of Anime’ responded to reports of the app crashing by apologizing for the crashes, and saying on their website that they were working on a fix. But the the copyright issue was not mentioned. At publication time, their site, http://www.qeab.net, is no longer online.
Apple’s terms and conditions for use of the App Store state “All sales and rentals of products are final.” However, if they push that point on this occasion, with this much publicity, they will get quite a black eye. Gizmodo has put together a ‘How To Get A Refund’ page with instructions on reporting a problem app.
Please leave a note in the comments section below if you bought the app and were able to get a refund from Apple.