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Unofficial Pokémon Yellow Appears on Apple App Store

by Andy Goergen - February 20, 2012, 10:26 am PST
Total comments: 10 Source: http://toucharcade.com/2012/02/20/non-functional-p..., Touch Arcade

Unlike Nintendo's famed handheld game, this app crashes immediately upon loading.

An unofficial, and completely unplayable, version of Pokémon Yellow has been climbing the charts on the Apple App Store. 

The game, which sells for $0.99, is currently sitting at the #2 spot on the Top Paid games chart.  The game reportedly crashes upon launching, and shows almost 1,500 reviews with an average of 1.5 stars out of 5 as of the time of this article. The developer, Home of Anime, has a history of publishing similar scams.

While it's hard to tell what the game is even meant to be, whether an emulated version of the original Pokémon Yellow or just a trap for unassuming iPhone owners, Nintendo has not made a point of pulling Pokémon related apps in the past. A quick search for Pokémon on the App Store brings about multiple apps, some free and some paid.

The official page for the app boasts features such as "Free Lifetime Updates," "Full high resolution Retina Display graphics" and "Intuitive and clear interface."  The page also notes that "All trademarks and copyrights are owned by their respective owners."

Talkback

Why does the App Store even have a review process when stuff like this happens all the time?

TJ SpykeFebruary 20, 2012

Quote from: MegaByte

Why does the App Store even have a review process when stuff like this happens all the time?

Unless an App duplicates a feature Apple themselves provide, they don't' really car. They have let blatant copyright violations through before and only removed them when the IP holder notified Apple.

Whether the App works or not, it's clearly illegal and should not have been allowed through the App Review process.

ejamerFebruary 20, 2012

Quote from: MegaByte

Why does the App Store even have a review process when stuff like this happens all the time?

It's like the Nintendo Seal of Quality - doesn't really mean anything except that the game should run.  Although apparently this app doesn't even meet that standard...


The thing that bugs me about this isn't that Apple knows they are consistently publishing content that breaks copyright law and rely on the copyright holders to do policing for them, but that they happily profit from those illegal sales.  By the time copyright holders notify them of complaints and Apple takes action, thousands upon thousands of copies of the game are already sold.  What happens to the 30% that Apple skims off the top for each sale?  (Hint: Fat wallets.)


Pretty good business model though.

People used to get pissed at Apple when they'd deny apps for violations all the time. Now they're more lenient, and people get pissed that they're not strict enough with things like this. The approval phase is supposed to check that the app follows all of Apple's rules of what it should and shouldn't do. Relying on content owners to catch copyright infringement is standard procedure under the DMCA. The same is true on sites like YouTube.

KDR_11kFebruary 20, 2012

Doesn't the DMCA only protect distribution services that have no manual review system in place? Wouldn't it be possible to hold Apple itself liable for copyright infringement since they're hosting and selling obviously illegal stuff that they supposedly manually reviewed?

ejamerFebruary 20, 2012

Quote from: KDR_11k

Doesn't the DMCA only protect distribution services that have no manual review system in place? Wouldn't it be possible to hold Apple itself liable for copyright infringement since they're hosting and selling obviously illegal stuff that they supposedly manually reviewed?

I believe the Apple tests are all automated.  It makes far more sense for them to approach app validation that way.

TJ SpykeFebruary 20, 2012

Quote from: NWR_insanolord

People used to get pissed at Apple when they'd deny apps for violations all the time. Now they're more lenient, and people get pissed that they're not strict enough with things like this. The approval phase is supposed to check that the app follows all of Apple's rules of what it should and shouldn't do. Relying on content owners to catch copyright infringement is standard procedure under the DMCA. The same is true on sites like YouTube.

Apple manually approves each App. And the problem is that they pretty much let any App through, except of it does some service that Apple already does. They seem to rarely, if, ever let THOSE through. I would think that the people in charge of checking Apps would have the common sense to now that a App that violates copyright law should not be approved.

ejamerFebruary 20, 2012

Quote from: NWR_insanolord

People used to get pissed at Apple when they'd deny apps for violations all the time. Now they're more lenient, and people get pissed that they're not strict enough with things like this. The approval phase is supposed to check that the app follows all of Apple's rules of what it should and shouldn't do. Relying on content owners to catch copyright infringement is standard procedure under the DMCA. The same is true on sites like YouTube.

A fair enough point. What Apple does is perfectly legal according to DMCA - based on my understanding that checks are automated and not manual as others have suggested.  That said, I don't know many people who hold DMCA up as effective or intelligent legislation.

Also, any complaints I heard about the App Store when Apple maintained stricter control over what was published were always with respect to legitimate apps that were denied because they competed with Apple interests (ex: Skype or VOIP options).  Being upset that legal apps are quashed to maintain a competitive advantage is quite different from concern about how profits from selling blatantly illegal software are handled.

Then again, maybe my reaction is just sour grapes at all the "iOS makes portable gaming consoles obsolete" talk. Apple has long been a company where some of the business practices rub me the wrong way... so take my complaints with a huge grain of salt.

You weren't hearing all of them, then. That was part of it, but a lot of it was Apple sending things back over minor details; think about the stories we've heard about Nintendo's strictness about companies getting the in-game home menu on the Wii just right. Now the first part's pretty much gone ad the second's been streamlined a lot, which means things will get through without being caught. I don't think it's reasonable to expect Apple to check every little thing in every app for copyright infringement. That would just bog down the whole process.

SeacorFebruary 20, 2012

I am surprised that after being available for three days, this trash is still available to download.  Even worse - people are falling for this scam and purchasing it.

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