In business, or even just life for that matter, when someone comes up with an extremely good idea, everyone and their mother copies them hoping to get a piece of the success and attention. It’s only natural and in my opinion, not such a bad thing. Here is why.
When a great idea is born and sees some initial success, other people in search of opportunity recognize that success and try to replicate the idea with their own spin and vision. The general idea is there, but they have done things differently that may appeal to different people. For example, Space Engineers is much like Minecraft in regards to using tools to collect materials that are then used to craft more tools and structures. However, Space Engineers focuses on building vehicles and stations in space, where Minecraft focuses on adventure, becoming more powerful and killing monsters. They are the same, but also vastly different.
What this does is increase market. With the case of Space Engineers and Minecraft, it draws in two similar but different types of customers. People who want to build castles and kill monsters, and people who want to build space bases and destroy star ships. For someone in the Minecraft crowd, they may grow tiresome of the game, and find themselves needing to play something like Space Engineers for a breath of fresh air, until they return to exploring skeleton and zombie infested caves.
Let me give another example of collaborative market, outside the realm of games. Amazon Prime movies and Netflix. Both provide a vast library of movies and TV shows and compete with one another. However, even though both companies compete for subscribers, both of them existing at the same time help each other grow even more. Without Amazon Prime, Netflix would have less subscribers, and without Netflix, Amazon Prime would have less subscribers. It’s an ecosystem. People need alternatives! Or simply additional options. And here is the kicker, Netflix rents it’s servers from Amazon Web Services! Business is not always about beating the other company and making them lose. If everyone wins, everybody does well.
And that’s my opinion on Minecraft clones.