Pokémon Go is still one of the most popular mobile games, with players still tracking the augmented reality creatures in order to fill their Pokédexes. Due to its popularity, it was only a matter of time before developer Niantic Labs would be faced with something like Draconius Go, a game very similar in theme, visualization and mission of Pokémon Go. Needless to say, Niantic is not keen on Draconius Go.
Draconius Go is from Ukrainian developer Elyland and is available in the Apple iOS and Google Play app stores. The game carries the bright, colorful style of Elyland’s library of games, but it also is very similar to the play style and game mechanics of Pokémon Go in the sense that the goal of the game is to hunt, capture and train magical creatures. There are a few notable differences, such as regular questing, Rifts to other worlds, spells to enhance your creatures and PvP battles that take place on the field, rather than in a gym. Draconius Go also allows players from one geolocation point to cast a joint spell that affects a specific geolocation area.
One of the biggest improvements over Pokémon Go is that apparently Draconius Go works better in rural areas, while Pokémon Go players have different experiences in rural and urban areas. That wasn’t enough to not garner some attention from Niantic, as this week Draconius Go received a complaint from Niantic through the Apple Appstore, which claimed that Draconius Go violated Niantic’s copyright. There have been no legal briefs filed, and the complaint was marked confidential (so can’t be shared here), but Elyland tells me that it has all its bases covered. Andriy Semenyuk, Founder and CEO of Elyland sent me this explanation via email:
We’ve received an un-grounded complaint from Niantic in the Appstore — they think we’ve violated their copyright. However, we didn’t use their coding or graphics when developing our product, it’s absolutely original. The developers of this popular GO game seem to think that they own the exclusive rights for the whole AR genre. It’s not like that. We believe that the market and players will only benefit from healthy competition.
When we developed this game, we consulted leading world-class lawyers, and we are 100% certain that Niantic’s claim is unjustified. Niantic’s reaction shows that they consider us as a serious rival. By doing so, they actually prove that our product is better. In just one year, our Ukrainian team has managed to do more than Niantic, with all their billions of income. And we are proud of our results. Our graphic is unique and better quality than in any other AR games. Besides, our game offers a variety of game mechanics that were never used in other AR games.
We hear and understand our players, we offer them an interesting gameplay. That’s what makes us special. We hope that our rivals will start improving their own games instead of making complaints and ignoring their fans. Currently, we are preparing new updates that we hope will make our players happy in the nearest future.
Elyland didn’t just toss out a game because it was trying to capitalize on the popularity of Pokémon Go, because it would have done that a year ago. Instead Elyland developers are still working on enhancing its own game, putting a huge emphasis on optimal game performance. The team has developed their own map service that stores the maps of the world on one server, making them available to players almost instantly. Additionally, the team plans on introducing geochats in one of their initial updates. This feature will enable players to create and join chats in geotags that cover the entire planet.
If anything, the existence of Draconius Go should light a fire under Niantic’s development butt to address some standing issues that affect player satisfaction, especially when it comes to the ability to actually catch ’em all. Time will tell if Niantic takes its complaint any further than just that, or if Draconius Go will be free to co-exist and thrive on its own. Healthy competition is always a good thing, even if it just gives us players the anxiety of having more creatures to capture.