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Will the nature of the AppStore Kill Zynga’s cloning strategy

By on February 14, 2012

On Facebook, no-one can hear you scream.

At least that is true of a cloned company. If Zynga, or anyone else, clones your game, there is little you can do about it within Facebook. When the primary distribution channels are cross-promotion and in-game virality, the fact that Zynga has cloned your title won’t be visible to anyone within the Facebook platform. As a player, you’d have to be reading around the subject to realise this game was a clone, and few Facebook gamers are that committed to their hobby. .

Not so on iOS. Check out the reviews of Dream Heights, Zynga’s clone of Tiny Tower, below:



Dream Heights has got a 1 star rating. Nearly every review says that this is a rip-off of Tiny Tower, and you should download that instead.

In the world of Facebook, there is no equivalent of the chart. There is no review recommendation. All that happens is that you see whether your friends are playing the game (which is of course a powerful recommendation in its own right).

On iOS, there are star ratings, reviews and the top charts. They provide a direct feedback loop for fans of Nimblebit (the developers of Tiny Tower) to express their displeasure.

Is Zynga about to learn that its aggressive, plagiarising tactics, honed on Facebook, won’t transfer to a platform where fans can give their feedback?

I think they are about to learn the importance of having a tribe, and the dangers of antagonising someone else’s.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: