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Summary:

Browsing recent App Store releases, I came across Minecraft – Pocket Edition, with a version 1.0 update. Thinking it might be a major update to Mojang’s smash hit, I clicked through — only to find a completely different app trying to lure customers who aren’t paying attention.

If you wanted to play Minecraft and ran into this instead, you'd be very disappointed and out $1.

If you wanted to play Minecraft and ran into this instead, you'd be very disappointed and out $1.

Browsing recent App Store releases, I came across “Minecraft – Pocket Edition,” with a version 1.0 update. Thinking it might be the update that finally brings combat and additional block types to Mojang’s free-form world creation game, I quickly clicked through — only to find a completely different app that’s obviously trying to lure customers who aren’t paying close attention.

The Minecraft – Pocket Edition released Jan. 26 is from developer Onliance, not Mojang, and despite having exactly the same name as the original, and using screenshots from the full release desktop version of the game, actually isn’t a game at all: it’s a guide or recipe list for use with the PC title (and doesn’t even really apply to the genuine Pocket Edition in its current form), but customers searching for the original would be hard-pressed to discover that at a glance.

Here’s the introductory paragraph for Onliance’s app description:

Minecraft is focused on creativity and building, allowing players to build constructions out of textured cubes in a 3D world. Gameplay in its commercial release has two principal modes: Survival, which requires players to acquire resources themselves and maintain their health and hunger; and Creative, where the player has an unlimited supply of resources, the ability to fly, and no concept of health or hunger. A third gameplay mode, named Hardcore, ratchets up the difficulty of surviving and forces the player to delete his or her world upon death. An outdated Classic version is also available for free, although it is no longer being developed. Creative Minecraft resembles Classic, but with many more features.

Before clicking through to “…More” in the iTunes page for the app, you actually see only about the first sentence of that, but the real purpose of the app is buried much deeper still. Much later on, the description does say the following, but it’s the kind of information that should be right up top, and it still doesn’t convey clearly that this title contains only supporting material, and not the game itself:

This app will help you get to know the basic building commands used within the game and help you fight off those nasty creepers!!

Not sure how this one snuck past Apple’s review process (we dropped them a line to let them know and will update with comments if we receive any), but this is a pretty bald attempt to mislead customers and profit from the success of Mojang’s innovative title. Here’s hoping the game quickly gets taken down, or at least changes its name, description and screenshots to something more representative of its actual function.

  1. And honestly… who likes bald attempts at anything?

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  2. I hate when developers do that… it’s just like the hundreds of ‘cellphone tracker’ apps that really just track your own location. I know they’re fake (common sense? helloooooo?) but it seems like most people don’t read through the description to the one-sentence disclaimer… and I’m pretty sure the developers know this.
    Same thing happened with the ‘night vision’ apps that just make your photos green. Again, common sense: the iPhone doesn’t have the right hardware. But people don’t realize this and the same thing happens… and in both cases, there were countless copies within days of the first fake app.

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  3. If you are no smart enough to read the descriptions/ reviews before you buy any app, you almost deserve to lose that dollar.

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  4. The price has gone up... Thursday, January 26, 2012

    Looks like it’s $4 now (TODAY ONLY! Regularly $6 supposedly). Maybe they’re hoping to take advantage of the publicity. :)

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  5. people should read the descriptions, and i believe that they registered the name before minecraft did, because the proper version has two — while this app only has one -

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