Originality is overrated, there I said it. Yesterday I wrote about the clone king coming to town, not so long ago Zynga the game company giant shamelessly rip-off Tiny Tower and also a desktop game Super Crate Box “heavily inspired” the iPhone game Muffin Knight. This 3 stories are just a small examples showing one simple fact: EVERYBODY COPIES!
Everybody as in big companies copy other big company, small companies copy big companies, big companies copy small company and of course small companies copy small companies. That is pretty much everybody. Let’s discuss this case by case.
Why do big companies copy? Because the bigger you are, the more careful you need to be. There’s stakeholders that you need to please, big teams you need to pay, the beautiful corner office you’d like to keep and other stuffs that feeds on money. With all those heavy baggages that they have, they just cannot afford to fail. I think this video from gamespot: Y U NO MAKE NEW I.P explained it nicely. Yes we understand that the economy is shitty and you want to keep your job. So what do you do when you just can’t afford to fail? You copy the best and hide the source.
Why do small companies copy? Well imagine college, a place where you are (suppose) to learn all the stuffs you need in the future working on your small office cubicles. What do you do when you want to learn something? You copy from the best and hope that you can actually make it as close as possible. It’s a natural process of learning, copying the best is indeed natural.
In short, it doesn’t matter if you’re big or small. Everybody copies the best, which is why they say: “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. it’s a common practice, taught in college and is a natural process of learning. So don’t go hating copies/clone/imitation because sooner or later, you will copy somebody. If not, then you’re not learning anything.
BONUS: Here is another interesting article, a conversation between the maker of Muffin Knight and Super Crate Box. Hint: They made peace in the end :)