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Hand Circus founder questions Gameloft stance

Simon Oliver points to hypocrisy of CEO's statements on low prices and copycat design

Hand Circus founder Simon Oliver has pointed out the hypocrisy of Gameloft's Michel Guillemot's stance on EA's App Store price slashing, issuing a reminder that Gameloft itself has been guilty of the very same thing.

Speaking in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz which will be published in full on Monday, Oliver made clear that he believes Guillemot is guilty of the self-same tactics which he lambasted EA for when speaking in an interview earlier this week.

Guillemot had expressed concern that EA had "subsidised" a hefty price cut to a number of titles to make sure that it held a number of prominent spots on the App Store over Christmas, saying that it made it "harder for smaller companies".

"Gameloft were the original price slashers," Oliver told GamesIndustry.biz. "When the price point started to slip from £9.99 they were the ones that changed prices for games like Let's Golf, which I think went down to £3.99. So that's exactly what they did."

Guillemot also defended Gameloft's practice of taking heavy inspiration from successful titles on other platforms for many of its mobile games, effectively saying that the company had a duty to spread good ideas.

Oliver, like many, would rather see a level of respect which allows innovation and inspiration to co-exist, avoiding the sort of actions which have put Capcom in hot water this week without being overly restrictive.

"I think you only need to look at the Tim Langdell case to see what can happen at the other end of the spectrum. When people are able to squat on a trademark, to abuse the system to that extent, you can see how it might work if more restrictive controls were implemented. It's really, really hard. There's no right answer to whether you need to have more robust controls, especially in an area that's moving so quickly," Oliver explained.

"There's definitely an ethical responsibility not to completely rip off someone else's work, but I'm very keen to avoid a situation where there's that level of protection so that we don't spawn a thousand Tim Langdells, or when we get the sort of situations which you do in the US with patent trolls sitting on an idea and creating companies to purely exploit intellectual property.

"You'd hope that this would come out amongst consumers, you'd hope that if a company has a reputation for bad business practice, that would trickle down and give them a bad reputation with consumers."

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