[Pac-Avoid developer Matt Porter has provided an even more detailed, first-hand account which you can read here]
It what is fast becoming a regular occurrence, Candy Crush Saga developer King has made their way into the news. This time, King has drawn significant attention after they were accused of copying another developer’s game.
However, while King has been handing out trademark claims left and right, and remained resolute in their decision to protect their various brands, that was not the case here. Rather, King decided to prove they are not above eliminating confusion even if that requires removing their own game from the public domain.
This most recent kerfuffle started after, Stolen Goose, the developer of a game called Scamperghost, alleged a King-published game called Pac-Avoid bears a strong resemblance to theirs. Not only that, Stolen Goose claimed that King knowingly cloned their concept after a deal for Scamperghost fell through.
That claim was further confirmed in an e-mail conversation between Stolen Goose’s Matthew Cox and Matt Porter, a developer for the company that made Pac-Avoid.
“First off, sorry that we cloned your game for Lars of King.com. Lars approached us one day explaining that you (Stolen Goose) had signed a contract, had been working with him on finishing the deal, and then got a better deal and backed out. He asked us to clone the game very quickly, and even wanted to beat the release of the original game.”
Rather than being drawn into any discussion over cloning games, King decided it was the best course of action to wipe Pac-Avoid from their site and cut their losses. Given that King is already embroiled in a few other trademark claims – claims that they brought on others – it was likely in their best interest to avoid being hit with another company’s claims. Not to mention both Pac-Avoid and Scamperghost are pretty obvious Pac-Man clones.
Clearly, King has drawn the attention of a wide portion of the gaming public, both consumer and professional. It all started when King trademarked the term “candy” as it pertains to software, but it didn’t stop there. Then the Candy Crush developer turned their sights on games with “saga” in the title, and unfortunately The Banner Saga was caught in the crossfire. King has already said they have no intentions of stopping The Banner Saga, but they won’t dismiss their trademark claim either.
From our perspective, King is putting themselves on quite the slippery slope. They claim they don’t copy games, but at least one developer alleges they do. This, of course, stirs up questions as to whether Candy Crush Saga — the specific game that King is looking to protect from clones — is an original idea. Candy Crush certainly shares a lot in common with Bejeweled, for example.
However this plays out, one thing is certain: King has opened the floodgates as far as trademark filings and claims are concerned. They’ve drawn some undue attention towards themselves and likely influenced other publishers to follow their lead, so we will have to see how far this thing goes.
Do you think that Candy Crush Saga is eerily similar to Bejeweled? Where do you think the line should be drawn regarding copyright infringement?
Source: Games Industry