Google Outlaws App Clones on Google Play

Scammer programmers love to pass off clones of successful games as the real thing. Google's trying to stop them.

New language in the tech giant's Developer Program Policies call out "impersonation or deceptive behavior":

Don't pretend to be someone else, and don't represent that your app is authorized by or produced by another company or organization if that is not the case. Products or the ads they contain also must not mimic functionality or warnings from the operating system or other applications. Developers must not divert users or provide links to any other site that mimics or passes itself off as another application or service. Apps must not have names or icons that appear confusingly similar to existing products, or to apps supplied with the device (such as Camera, Gallery or Messaging).

Anybody running afoul of the new rules will have their app pulled from Google Play. This new policy is almost certainly an attempt to stamp out kind of fraud that's generated loads of Angry Birds and Cut the Rope rip-offs that show up in Google Play. Similar frauds—the fake Pokemon, Mega Man and Canabalt games, among them—on Apple's App Store. The folks behind those games put their off-brand games up, hoping to peel away dollars from impulsive or gullible consumers until they're pulled from the download service. At least Google's formally addressing this scummy practice in its policies. We'll see if Apple has similar policing in the works.

Google Play puts foot down on storefront mimicry [Gamasutra]