Two years ago, I got a job at a small mobile development studio that’s focus was supposed to be “simple, innovative games”. While taking my tour of the studio, all I could think was, “Whoa, this place is incredible! It’s like every other studio I hear or read about with a never-ending flow of drinks and snacks, break rooms with huge TV’s, and even a gym for employees to get healthy in. There’s even a few masseuses on staff that will give you massages once a week. What isn’t there to love?”
Turns out it was the focus of the studio executives focus to keep the employees as happy as little hamsters in a cage so they wouldn’t question why they were ripping other popular games ideas. These games would then be priced cheaper and have a similar enough name that enough unsuspecting people would buy and download it before realizing it wasn’t the game they were originally looking for. This might not seem like a big deal, but cashing in on a well known games popularity can net millions of dollars just like that.
In one of my first assignments, I was given a budget of $10000, and told to create new iTunes accounts, one at a time, buy one of the studios just released games, and rate it five stars with some ambiguous glowing praise. While I morally despised this, I needed a job and desperately wanted to work in the industry. After a while, I started to get creative with the names I used (think Seymour Butts, but more dirty). It became a soul sucking job, but hey, I was in it for the perks.
There’s really no point to this story, other than to warn you to read the titles of what you’re buying carefully, as someone is always trying to profit from the popularity of someone else.