Air Control Found Riddled With Stolen Content – Who is Handling Steam’s Quality Control?

By   /   Jun 4, 2014

As a semi-pilot-in-training myself, and one who thrills at the thought of being thirty five thousand feet above sea level, travelling at nearly the speed of sound.

Lots of people have attempted to emulate (or the right terminology would be “simulate”) the experience and technicality of flying over the years, with Microsoft and Lockheed leading with Microsoft Flight Simulator X and Prepar3d respectively.

It’s not so much the work put in by the parent companies that makes these Sims ideal, but by 3rd party professional developers who comprise of real-life pilots (companies like PMDG, LevelD, Aerosoft etc. come to mind) which have made these sims remarkably close to life.

Then there is Air Control.

Words cannot describe this product – neither can its own gameplay. Claimed by the developers for being a “realistic simulator”, Air Control flops and fails in ways hard to describe while keeping the etiquettes tied with professional journalism in mind.

The abysmal graphics, the awful fonts, the no-purpose gameplay and the terrible finishing is just a handful of chosen flaws out of many. But we’re not here to have an anger-induced aneurysm because of how bad the game is from the core – we’re here to have an anger-induced aneurysm for what kind of example it sets with its gargantuan copyright infringements.

Air Control is under heavy fire for adapting a large amount of copyright material into itself, presenting them as the product of its own brainchild. Now the real issue is that this game is available on a top-tier digital gaming service like Steam, which is arguably the best virtual gaming store available for the PC.

The folks at Valve must’ve at least come across this mess of a game, and if not for the woefully low standards it manages to attain they should’ve at least blocked the selling of the product for some of the blatant copyright infringements.

It seems strange that users and commenters were the first to notice and shout-out a series of violations, of which many included unlicensed use of real-world airline logos, aircraft models, and even certain “characters” that tend to play the role of passengers.

One such example is the rather familiar interior aircraft model, which is just one example out of many cleverly pointed out by steam user “koberko”. The Dosch Airplane Model for 3D Studio has a strikingly familiar cockpit and passenger cabin layout when compared with that of Air Control.

One could argue that both are replicas of a real-life aircraft, but the bitter truth (bitter for the developers of AC) is that DOSCH’s aircraft model is highly generic and represents no actual aircraft, though it adopts certain portions of different aircrafts like the Airbus A330, Airbus A320, Boeing 737, and Boeing 777 passenger airplanes. It seems a bit uncanny that Air Control managed to create almost perfect (albeit graphically less impressive) copies of a generic aircraft model.

What is even more shameful is that AC developers failed to add diversity to their infringements, and also adapted the same DOSCH’s work – this time the airport, again pointed out by koberko.

Not only that, users are suggesting that animal models in the game may also have been from DOSCH, while various other content comes from games like Zelda, Serious Sam, and actual thumbnails of real-life magazines.

Now, this not only spells trouble for Air Control’s indie developer, but is also a big blow to Steam’s quality control.

Valve decided it wouldn’t curate games from Steam any longer, but the massive downside is to allow unjustified development and eventual selling of games like Air Control, with developers who cheaply rip off copyright material with no one to answer to.

Even without the copyright infringement, the title lacks in any kind of appreciable quality or attractive that would see it on par with other games available in parallel on Steam.

Sure, the review system does exist for global assessment, but by the time the review amounts reach to any kind of convincing value the developer will have profited from his/her unjust and illegal usage of copyright material and poor-quality work beyond concern.

If and when this all comes down to show-time, the corporate companies who have been the victim of intellectual property theft in this case won’t be targeting the small-time indie developer to develop such a game.

Instead, they may grab Valve by the collar with a well-prepared lawsuit and demand payment in damages and violation considering Valve facilitated the distribution of Air Control.

Valve needs to reinstate its quality control department, and rethink its decision of pulling out from the harsh but justified business of curating the products that are being sold through its gaming client.