Cuphead iOS port a scam: Why was it allowed in the first place?

Eric Abent - Dec 18, 2017
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Cuphead iOS port a scam: Why was it allowed in the first place?

Cuphead is unquestionably one of the year’s most popular games, so it should be little surprise that some unsavory folks are looking to take advantage of that popularity. Recently, an app claiming to be an iOS port of Cuphead went live on the App Store. At first glance, it appears to be a legitimate port, with a developer that shares the name with the studio behind Cuphead, along with screenshots and a description that make it seem like the real deal. Unfortunately, this app was completely fake.

That’s bad news for anyone who decided to drop $4.99 on the app in question. Cuphead, for now, is only available on Xbox One and Windows 10, with a price tag of $20. No other ports have been announced, which should have been a red flag when this fraudulent iOS app first popped up.

Earlier this morning, Studio MDHR took to Twitter to confirm that this Cuphead iOS app was indeed fake. At the time, the studio said that it was working to take this down quickly, and at the time of this writing, it’s already been removed. The question, though, is how it ever got approved in the first place.

After all, whoever published this app clearly has no problem with ripping off the Cuphead brand. The app is simply titled “Cuphead” and the screenshots on the App Store listing are all taken directly from the game. Studio MDHR never announced that Cuphead was coming to iOS, so you’d think the absence of such an announcement would tip off whoever was approving the app over at Apple HQ.

If nothing else, you’d hope that Apple would reach out to Studio MDHR before approval to make sure it was legitimate. Cuphead isn’t exactly an unknown indie title at this point – it’s received a lot of press throughout 2017 and it’s been almost impossible to avoid if you regularly use the internet. It seems strange that Apple would approve this app in the first place when you consider all of that.

Beyond this individual instance, though, this shines a light on a larger problem with the App Store and Apple’s approval process. Fakes like this keep appearing and, at this point, this has been an issue for years. Hopefully this fake Cuphead port prompts Apple to consider what it can do to tighten up its approval process, but considering the long-running problems with it, that might be a foolish hope.


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