An obviously infringing Pokemon iOS port briefly found its way to number two in the iTunes paid app chart, in the USA, despite having nothing to do with Nintendo and garnering buckets of negative reviews.
Despite the fact that the game apparently doesn’t run at all, with the vast majority of the 1,300 reviews stating just that, the Pokemon brand was enough to make thousands of iPhone users shell out a dollar a time just in case Nintendo had decided to ditch its software-to-sell-hardware strategy.
The killer application for a Nintendo DS, if one is around seven, is Pokemon, and perhaps the ageing Mario. Without those two brands, ankle biters can be bought off with a cheapo Android tablet or an iPod Touch, but neither has the magic of Ash Ketchum and his evolving pocket monster mates, not to mention Pikachu.
One can argue that Apple should have spotted that Nintendo was unlikely to have hived off development of an iOS port of its most-valuable property to one Daniel Burford, or released a game that crashes at launch for the vast majority of users - but Apple only takes responsibility when it wishes and it can't check every IP infringement.
What's more interesting is the complete failure of the peer-review system, on which app stores such as the Android marketplace are entirely dependent. The Pokemon Yellow game had 1,300 reviews, almost universally negative, but buyers were blinded by the Pokemon brand and the knowledge that they were only risking a dollar.
But that's not all they were risking: once installed iOS applications have access to all sorts of data, as Path users have discovered, so next time an application like this bubbles to the top it might cost the buyers a lot more than a dollar. ®