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I've an idea for a smartphone game app. I want to make sure nobody has made an app like this before; how can I check that? I don't want to remake something that already exists now.

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Apr 30 '11 at 23:29

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Why do you want to check it? To avoid serious competition? To get yourself a copy if somebody's already done it? –  David Thornley May 5 '11 at 19:45

4 Answers 4

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Well Jonathan has good points. But I have learned that people choose apps based on things that are not necessarily based only on popularity, but also on graphics, name, and what ever their friends tell them. So in my opinion if you believe you can do a great app, just go ahead and do it.

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Unless an existing app already dominates the market such that it creates an insurmountable barrier to entry (which is rare), it doesn't matter.

Besides, if you have an idea for an app that you think is truly unique and you can't find any prior examples, it might just be a bad idea. Competition helps provide market validation.

In any case, the idea isn't important. Your success will be defined by identifying customer needs and executing, not by having a great idea.

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I like your view, but customer needs sometimes are not clearly identified. Before Angry Birds nobody felt a need for playing that. (Sorry for bad English) –  Mohsen May 1 '11 at 5:53
    
Actually there are a lot of "demolish the castle" games - there were at least a couple featured on download squad that pre-date angry birds. Success is a matter of both having an adequately good product and luck (this includes timing and "viral" effects) –  Murph May 1 '11 at 10:55
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Angry birds, like many of their other games, is just a "reinvention" (to put it rather nicely) of a previously successful idea, and actually proves my point quite well. –  Rein Henrichs May 1 '11 at 13:21
    
Well, and Angry Birds adapts that whole class of game quite nicely, with very high production values, and cute, relatable characters. It's become the phenomenon it is not because of the innovativeness of the game play, but the general quality of the app experience. –  Dan Ray May 5 '11 at 20:45
    
@Dan which even further proves my point. Execution > idea. –  Rein Henrichs May 5 '11 at 21:56

Not sure how to respond to this. Just search for it.

Unless you have magical powers, your best bet will always be a Google search with keywords that reflect your app. Of course, whether or not someone has already made one isn't as relevant as questions like the following:

  1. Is the existing app really popular?
  2. Is the existing app really good?

If the answer to at least one of those questions is no, then you should go ahead with your app! If the answer to both, however, is yes, you should come up with a different idea.

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Google google google and the appstores obviously. If you can't find anything there then go ahead and starting dev'ing! Either way if there is an app with the same type of gaming experience that doesn't mean yours won't be successful. Marketing is super important :)

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