Earlier today, Apple App Store users noticed that the long-awaited, unannounced, probably not even in development sequel to Minecraft is now available. Yes, we were surprised, too. So was Mojang.
Before you rush off to download Minecraft: Pocket Edition 2, there are two things you should know. First, it was a fraud. Second, it’s gone. But before it got pulled, it shot up to the #4 spot in Apple’s paid app rankings.
The app was not authored by Mojang, of course. It was published on December 21 by someone going by the name “Scott Cawthorn.” Prior to Apple apparently wiping the “developer” from its store, he also had a fake Five Nights at Freddy’s app.
While those apps are now gone, a cursory search reveals other infringing offerings for both Minecraft and Five Nights at Freddy’s. The Minecraft End User License Agreement allows guides, but apps like paid quizzes and infinite runners that invoke the Minecraft name or content are not permitted.
We’ve reached out to Apple to find out more about its review process, how a fraudulent offering infringing on the store’s top-selling app passed muster, and what (if anything) it will do to prevent this sort of behavior in the future. We’ll update should we receive a response.
This points to an ongoing failure on Apple’s part. The store has notoriously permitted clones and other deceptive apps, as evidenced by the number of copies of Threes and Flappy Bird that emerged last year.
It’s no surprise that something pretending to be a Minecraft sequel performed well. It’s just shocking Apple’s review process, whatever it is, is so porous.