Photo: App Store
NimbleBit is the latest iPhone developer to have its top app copied by another larger developer — and they are pretty pissed off about it.This time the app in question is Zynga’s Dream Heights, which NimbleBit says is a copy of its game Tiny Tower, the top iPhone game of 2011. Both games involve building a tower and running the various businesses and residences in it.
The games definitely look very similar and have similar mechanics and layouts.
Developers should be ready and expect that to happen. Copycat games and apps are a fact of life in the app development industry.
But if NimbleBit has the better game, then players will flock to it. Competition is good. Competition keeps innovation coming across just about everything — including Facebook and mobile games.
Anil Dash and Dan Frommer have pretty good takes on the whole mess:
Mobile is proving to be an increasingly important strategy for Zynga, the largest social gaming provider that is launching game after game on the iPhone and other mobile devices. If the biggest social gaming company is doing it, there’s probably a good reason why.
For example, Words With Friends is now one of Zynga’s most popular games in terms of daily active users, according to AppData — that’s a mobile game that uses Facebook connect (and is now also on Facebook).
Zynga tried to acquire NimbleBit at one point, according to developer Ian Marsh. That’s a pretty typical strategy for Zynga — buying companies and releasing the game while cross-promoting it on Zynga’s network. Since the deal didn’t go through, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that Zynga would push out its own version of a tower-building game.
NimbleBit’s attack on Zynga is still a pretty a funny approach, though — they made an infographic comparing the games side-by-side to call out their new rival. We’ve included NimbleBit’s infographic in its full glory below: