Itch.io Accuses W3itch.io of copying its code
Web3 seems to be going through a difficult phase as reports of plagiarism and fraud are emerging rapidly. Recently, popular gaming website Itch.io a website for copying the site’s CSS code for itself and began selling its creators’ games without permission. The copycat website named W3itch.io claims to be "free-as-freedom open marketplace" for games that use web3 technology like cryptocurrency and NFTs.
Soon after that, a few game developers including Befuddle Quest maker noted that their games had ended up on the w3itch.io website without their consent and called out the website for essentially stealing their games W3itch.io claims to be a site where independent game creators could publish their work and users could play them but these allegations indicate otherwise.
What did W3itch.io do?
W3itch.io, a website that claims to be an “open marketplace for independent game creators” was put in the limelight when Itch.io founder Leaf Corcoran accused it of “ripping off itch.io”. In to Corcoran’s remark, W3itch.io admitted to copying the CSS code and apologized for it citing a lack of designers as the reason to resort to this. However, W3itch.io claimed that while the CSS code was the same, the content and goods offered by the site were completely different.
Corcoran replied by saying that copying CSS code was theft and even the projects that are uploaded on w3itch.io’s website seem to be copied from rpgmaker.net. After this issue blew up on Twitter, several project owners found that w3itch.io had uploaded their projects on its website without their permission and called out the website for it.
Corcoran even went on to report W3itch.io on for stealing content.
“You have stolen the UI of itch.io, blatantly ripping it off, in addition to using our name directly in your project. As far as I'm concerned, this is scam to trick people by using @itchio's established brand on an unrelated project for your own profit. I request that you immediately remove any likeness, including our name, from your project. Additionally, upon going through the content on your platform, it appears you have stolen many games (see rpgmaker.net) for reupload without the consent of the creators of the games. For the sake of respecting creators and their work, I request that you remove stolen content from your platform.”
What’s next forW3itch.io?
After being publicly called out for plagiarism, W3itch.io removed over two-thirds of the games on their platform. But despite this, it continued to face immense backlash from the gaming community, resulting in w3itch.io shutting down its website.
Frustrated users are still demanding w3itch.io to delete their Twitter handle so it does not repeat any such moves in the future. With the w3itch.io saga, it became clear that web3 and blockchain gaming still has a long way to go in terms of the security of products and assets.
But the opinion of Itch.io has always been against NFTs. They are also known to say that “NFTs are a scam”. Due to this sentiment of Itch.io, w3itch.io was able to enter the web3 gaming space with a similar concept. Unfortunately for them, they took inspiration a little too far and also ended up plagiarizing code and games from itch.io and RPGMaker.