App Store’s Removal Culture Called Into Question

Whether intentional or not, Edge Games’ decision to take on the iPhone app Killer Edge Racing regarding alleged trademark issues (the game was removed from the App Store at the end of last month) has opened a whole can of worms. The studio’s previous clash with Mobigame’s Edge was just the tip of what would now appear to be a very large iceberg.

But this is a story with several dimensions. The Chaos Engine, the development forum that set up a fund to support Mobigames in the last round of “trademark wars”, not only claims that it is standing by Killer Edge Racing’s creator Nalin Sharma, but also questions Apple’s current system of removing games from the App Store when any kind of complaint is lodged by a rival developer.

‘We’re certainly doing what we can for Sharma,’ The Chaos Engine’s Dean Roskell told us, going on to suggest that, while Sharma’s fight is one worth winning, the main target in the future should be Apple itself.

“Thoughts are also turning to Apple now, who have become a key tool in Langdell’s arsenal, as well as being used by Mumbo Jumbo to get StoneLoops! removed from the App store. Their policy simply isn’t working and in its current state is only good for abuse,” Roskell added.

Indeed, the latest move by Tim Langdell, head of Edge Games, has coincided with Mumbo Jumbo’s aforementioned attack on StoneLoops! of Jurassica. The developer made a formal complaint to Apple at the end of last month due to supposed similarities to its own title Luxor, and Apple removed it from sale temporarily as a result. According to Roskell, giving studios what amounts to carte blanche over one another inevitably leads to chaos.

“I suppose it’s their store, they make the rules and they don’t have to answer to anyone, but still there’s a moral code that no one should break if they want to keep on good terms with the industry. I can’t understand why they’d decide to believe Langdell or Mumbo Jumbo in the recent cases and it would do well to see how Apple reached their decision.”

Such openness from Apple is unlikely, but events are certainly moving quickly. What originally started out as a simple trademark dispute is now highlighting supposed loopholes in the App Store system with the pitfalls of open, independent development now exposed for all to see.

If you’d like to keep track of The Chaos Engine’s take on events, hop on over to The Chaos Edge. The blog’s latest entry “Video Killed the Racing Star” casts its light on the latest Killer Edge Racing developments in some detail.

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