Apple iPhone and iPad users who are fans of Minecraft should be aware of one of the most brazen scams seen yet on the App Store. A shady app developer released a Minecraft: Pocket Edition 2 that bears no resemblance to anything Minecraft-related outside of the name. It was the fourth-highest paid app on the store at one point.
Update: Apple has removed Minecraft: Pocket Editon 2 from the App Store.
A poster on Reddit first called attention to the Minecraft scam app listed by a Scott Cawthorn. As Eurogamer notes, this is a play on the name of Five Nights at Freddy’s creator, Scott Cawthon. This sham developer clearly preying on the gullibility of others also has fake games based on Five Nights at Freddy’s and Mortal Kombat.
What does Minecraft: Pocket Edition 2 actually contain? It’s a dreadfully basic swipe game featuring Scorpion from Mortal Kombat defending himself against zombies. The $7 game in no way resembles the exceedingly popular Minecraft and should be avoided at all costs.
— Eurogamer.net (@eurogamer) January 8, 2016
Cawthorn has set himself up for an extra helping of legal trouble by posting the fake Minecraft app to the App Store just from the description alone.
“FINALLY, MINECRAFT II HAS COME TO THE APP STORE THIS CHRISTMAS, EXCLUSIVELY!
“Minecraft is a game about breaking and placing blocks. Minecraft II is taking those activities to a whole new level of excellence and uniqueness. At first, people built structures to protect against nocturnal monsters, but as the game grew players worked together to create wonderful, imaginative things.
“Explore randomly generated worlds and build amazing things from the simplest of homes to the grandest of castles. Play in creative mode with unlimited resources or mine deep into the world in survival mode, crafting weapons and armor to fend off the dangerous mobs.
“Craft, create, and explore alone, or with friends on mobile devices or Windows 10.”
As you can guess, nothing in the description is remotely accurate about the app.
The listing also direct users to the official Minecraft website for information and support. It also bizarrely includes a copyright from Mojang AB to give that extra touch of authenticity that also sets the stage for legal trouble from the Minecraft developer.
“It’s great that Minecraft has inspired people to create amazing things, but when a product attempts to dupe our community or exploit their enthusiasm for the game, it’s our responsibility to step in,” Mojang’s Owen Hill told Eurogamer in an email.
“Our dedicated enforcement team are extremely busy!”
A request has been submitted to remove the fake Minecraft game from the App Store, but it sadly has been available since December 21. It was ranked fourth on the paid app section of the App Store charts at one point, but has now disappeared either through a lack of sales or Apple’s intervention.
— Game Informer (@gameinformer) January 7, 2016
As expected, those who have purchased Minecraft: Pocket Edition 2 are furious. Reviews of the scam game are filled with one star reviews and individuals demanding their money back.
Both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store suffer from a flood of clone games that attempt to make a quick buck by copying a popular game and giving it a different name. There are dozens of low quality knock-offs of Minecraft, Crossy Roads, and more in both online stores. Minecraft: Pocket Edition 2 is a different beast, though, as it pretends to be an official release from Mojang, advertises itself with images from Minecraft, and then fraudulently offers a completely different experience.
It is unclear how or why Apple’s App Store policies allow scam games like those from “Scott Cawthorn” to become available for sale. The review policies should stop this from ever occurring in the first place.
[Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]