Bogus Pokemon game makes waves in App Store

Posted by Mike Luttrell

Somehow, an unofficial game managed to get approved in the Apple App Store and has made its way up to #2 in the list of top paid apps.

As anyone who knows Nintendo can tell right away, this mobile app is not officially licensed as is in fact infringing on one of the most powerful trademarks in the business.

But of course there are people who aren't in tune to the industry well enough to know that, and thousands of people have shelled out a buck for what appeared to be a legitimate game.

To add insult to injury, though, not only is it not an officially licensed game, it isn't a game at all. The app apparently does not do anything. It will not open, according to the hundreds upon hundreds of negative reviews.

Nintendo has been asked numerous times whether or not it might eventually dip into the market of mobile apps. Sony has made Playstation-branded games available in the Android Market, and Microsoft has an entire Xbox Live platform available in Windows Phone.

But Nintendo has repeatedly said it has no plans to release any of its heralded franchises on a non-Nintendo device. The company will of course always leave its options open. When I recently asked a Nintendo executive about the issue, she did not deny the possibility that it might happen some day.

This is the perfect example of how disjointed the App Store approval policy is. There have been cases where, for example, a Pulitzer Prize winning political cartoonist had his app (which was nothing more than a collection of his masterful cartoons) rejected. Meanwhile, someone submits an app that is blatantly infringing on a trademark and doesn't even run, and it is approved. Go figure.