Ubisoft Buys Ketchapp, The Studio Behind Mobile Clone 2048 And Other Games

Illustration for article titled Ubisoft Buys Ketchapp, The Studio Behind Mobile Clone 2048 And Other Games

Mobile game publisher Ketchapp is an absolute force on the App Store. Since 2014, they’ve released a salvo of arcade-y hits like 2048, ZigZag, Stack, Stick Hero, Twist, and Jelly Jump. However, they’ve also been accused of cloning games on a handful of occasions.


Ubisoft shelled out for Ketchapp to gain a stronger foothold in the inscrutable realm of Mobilia. From the press release:

“With Ketchapp, Ubisoft acquires a highly profitable publisher with a successful portfolio of free-to-play games for mobile,” declared Jean-Michel Detoc, executive director of Ubisoft’s mobile business. “This acquisition gives Ubisoft one of the world’s leading mobile game publishers and reinforces our advertising capabilities in mobile gaming.”

He declared it! That’s how you know he means it.

Ketchapp has had tremendous success publishing a mind-boggling number of games. Simplistic, casual friendly hits are their trademark. However, they’ve also been linked to multiple game cloning controversies, most recognizably for taking the open-source version of popular Threes clone 2048, slapping ads on it, and making a killing. They’ve had similar success with Hoverboard Rider, their own take on Flappy Bird.

Last year, they were once again engulfed by controversy when developer Matt Akins accused them of releasing a clone of his game, Rotable, after he submitted it to Ketchapp for publishing, only to be rejected. However, while the timing was suspicious, it’s not like Rotable was the first game to ever recreate Pong in a circular arena. The jury’s still out on whether Ketchapp actually did anything wrong. Similarly, some believed Ketchapp’s Skyward to be an attempt at cashing in on the success of beloved Escher-inspired puzzler Monument Valley.

As a result, not everybody is thrilled about this news, especially in the game dev community:


I reached out to Ubisoft about Ketchapp’s less-than-spotless reputation in the game development community, but I’ve yet to hear back from them.

All that said, Ketchapp has released nearly 100 games, to keep things in perspective. Their games (and active social media presence) are beloved by millions. If nothing else, it’ll certainly be interesting to see what they do under Ubisoft’s banner.

Kotaku senior reporter. Beats: Twitch, streaming, PC gaming. Writing a book about streamers tentatively titled "STREAMERS" to be published by Atria/Simon & Schuster in the future.



I’ve never heard of them, but if Ubisoft runs it like Gameloft then I know to stay far away from their games.

Not that it really matters as I rarely even visit the App Store these days. There is far too much crap to wade through, along with the popularity of consumer robbery via IAP being abused with timers, gems, coins, or whatever a developer refers to their currency.

I never was bothered by IAP until they were abused and developers started creating their games difficulty around pushing them in order to progress.