Nintendo’s claims to the globally-recognised Pokémon gaming brand looked to be rocking as an unofficial Pokémon game was the first of its kind to enter Apple’s App Store for download onto iOS devices earlier this week. Titled Pokémon - Pocket Edition, little did purchasers of the $5 app know – described as “marking the Pokémon series’ glorious debut on the App Store [that] lets you verse and play as everyone’s favourite Pokémon, Pikachu, around awesome lands” – was nothing more than a scam and an illegitimate app that featured no actual gameplay, only screen captures of other Pokémon games.
Apple’s App Store approval processes – in place to “ensure applications are reliable, perform as expected, and are free of explicit and offensive material” – is likely to face criticism after the glaring oversight came to light, while apologies to both Nintendo and The Pokémon Company, who own the rights to the franchise, will no doubt be just around the corner also, we expect. “[Use] the stylus to control your favourite Pokémon, zip across land and sea – even through the air – on a mad dash for the finish line” the remainder of the description reads.
The game has now picked up a deluge of angry reviews with customers outraged at spending $5 for an App that was both mis-sold to them and violates copyright protection. One reviewer warns off others from making the same mistake: “DO NOT BUY THIS!!! This is ONLY a Gallery of Pokémon photos from the games!”
The wait for an officially-licensed Pokémon adventure on iPhone and iPad is still very much a pipe dream at best, then. Regardless, the blunder made by the App Store approvals team yet again goes to show the failings on behalf of Apple to police content sufficiently. This is far from a rarity - we’ve seen time and time again ‘knock-off’ Apps impersonating trademarked games go live only for customers to fall for the scam and be disappointed with the result. Like the strictness imposed within Xbox Live Marketplace and PlayStation Network development, Apple has a duty to intellectual property owners to stop such things happening.