Pokemon GO has made over a billion dollars, giving players a new way to use the augmented reality (AR) technology in their smartphones. The game’s success means that many similar AR games have been made, but it seems that Pokemon GO developer Niantic isn’t best pleased about the latest rival release.
In an email statement sent out to press this week, Eyland, the developer of AR game Draconius GO, alleges that Niantic has filed a complaint against its game. Eyland claims that “We’ve received an un-grounded complaint from Niantic in the Appstore — they think we’ve violated their copyright.”
Eyland says that when it began developing Draconius GO, which allows players to go out in the world to catch and collect mythical characters, it consulted “leading world-class lawyers”. Although some screenshots of Draconius GO do seem to have a similar style to Pokemon GO, Eyland stresses that its game is “absolutely original”.
Eyland says it didn’t use any of Niantic’s “coding or graphics when developing [the] product” and is “100% certain that Niantic’s claim is unjustified”. The developer also suggests that Niantic has only filed the complaint because it sees Draconius GO as a “serious rival”.
Draconius GO‘s collectible creatures – which include dragons, unicorns, and vampires – may not have the charm of characters such as Pikachu and Mewtwo. But what Eyland’s game does have, is better support for rural players and many of the game’s 100,000 players cite this as a major factor for playing. It has ‘Pillars’ (its version of Pokestops) every 200 meters, meaning that rural players can still enjoy the game despite not being near many points of interest.
Although Niantic has vowed to improve things for rural Pokemon GO players, those who live outside of urban hubs still say that the game is less enjoyable for them. Recently, players complained that many rural Pokemon GO Pokestops had been removed from the game, leaving them with no in-game locations for miles around.
Moreover, Draconius GO has player versus player (PvP) gameplay. Niantic has promised to add PvP to Pokemon GO ‘soon’ but as fans are still waiting this provides just one more reason for people to play its rival instead.
It’s unclear whether Niantic may file additional complaints on top of this alleged warning, or what other action the developer may take. There are plenty of other Pokemon GO-likes, such as Garfield GO and the Sharknado AR game, and it will be interesting to see whether they receive complaints from Niantic too.