Chinese Studio Blatantly Copies Foreign Indie Game, Developers Pissed [UPDATED]


China has made great strides away from its reputation as the home of all things fake and copied over the past few years, which makes an incident like this all the more depressing. According to a post made several hours ago on Reddit, Tencent’s gaming platform Pengyou as well as the Tencent app store contains what is an almost exact copy of the Redditor’s indie game, Cloudstone.

Reddit user Fragsworth (who we have confirmed is indeed a developer of Cloudstone) writes of the copycat game, which is called QQ Sky City and Warriors’:

It’s pretty clear that they blatantly, seriously ripped us off. They took our files, reverse-engineered the server, and hosted the game themselves with Chinese translations. They stole years of our hard work. We have no idea how many users they have or how much money they’re making, but they have a pretty high rating on that site and they might be profiting off the stolen game more than we are.

[UPDATE 2: Added quote from Tencent’s international head of PR, who tells us]:

Our legal department is monitoring the situation and, if found to be a case of infringement, will act on it.

Tencent’s rep also pointed out that their own brand “QQ” is not in the pirate game’s title, as we had stated above.

As for whether or not the game is copied, well, look for yourself at this image Fragsworth posted:

Lest you think Fragsworth has cooked this up as promotion for his own game, it’s pretty clear when you compare Cloudstone’s site with the Chinese copy’s that this is a very real case of pretty blatant copying.

That’s a shame, because this isn’t a case of stealing from some multi-billion dollar company; Chinese “developers” Baofeng Dongman are stealing from indie developers who, to hear Fragsworth tell it, slaved away on this game for two years without pay, and still aren’t making much money off of it. That’s lame. [UPDATE 1: Added quote]. Speaking to Tech in Asia, Fragsworth said:

I’m not happy that there are people who do this. It’s not like they even attempted to re-make the game, they just made a direct fucking copy. As in they dragged and dropped the files from our website to their own servers so they could make money off of it. I always heard about how companies would do this kind of crap but never thought it’d happen to us.

Redditors are already suggesting ways the original developers might deal with this issue, like leaving lots of Chinese comments about how the game is a fraud. Fragsworth told Tech in Asia that the Cloudstone team has talked to lawyers — though no lawyers in China yet — but that the attention his post is getting on Reddit might help lead to some kind of resolution.

We have contacted Tencent and Baofeng Dongman for comment, and will update this story once we hear back.

[via Reddit]

[UPDATE 1: 3 hours after posting, added comments given to us by Fragsworth. It was updated again shortly after to correct the name of the developer, which is actually Baofeng Dongman].

[UPDATE 2: 10 hours after publishing we have an official response from Tencent to TiA, added above].

(And yes, we're serious about ethics and transparency. More information here.)

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