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The SAGA Continues...

By Azeebo25-01-2014

Candy Crush Saga masterminds King are not exactly popular with the gaming crowd at the moment, with recent legal action being taken against Stoic's use of the word Saga in The Banner Saga. Now regardless how large of a slap King needs, this latest news has nothing to do with that.

No, infact this is a whole different kettle of fish. Stolen Goose are alleging that King copied the design of one of their flash games: Scamperghost. Scamperghost is all about avoiding nefarious ghosts, collecting coins and using slow-motion to evade your enemies. They say they were contacted by King to license the game, however they decided to turn down the offer when a better deal entered the fray. Stolen Goose claim that king then cloned their game, and made Pac-Avoid, which as you can imagine, is all about avoiding nefarious ghosts, collecting coins and using slow-motion to evade your enemies

The issue however, is you cannot trademark game design like you can a name or word. I mean, how crazy would it be if people started lawsuits over the use of the first person in shooters? This leads to a lot of cloning in the market, and oddly enough Stolen Goose openly admit that Scamperghost was a clone of another game, Particles by RagDollSoft. Although he argues that "we really evolved the game quite a bit in our own direction.".

Despite this, Stolen Goose are willing to work with King in the future, stating "That being said – I don't hate King for this. I see it as a cold calculated business move – they wanted the game, couldn't get it – so they copied it. It's cutthroat – it's how they operate. I would still do business with them in the future.".

But, the plot thickens. Stolen Goose backed out of a deal with King, and believed that King took Pac-Avoid as an alternative to Scamperghost. This is not the case however, as they claim "We tracked down the developer that made Pac-Avoid and it turns out they were contacted by King.com to clone the game!"

They go on to say:

Scamperghost isn't the most original game in the world. It's obviously inspired by Pac-Man but we at least took it in an original direction by making it a mouse avoider with no walls.

King.com, however, showed no respect for other people's intellectual property when they made a direct, blatant clone of Scamperghost. Now they've trademarked "Candy" and are using their massive legal power against other small competing developers. A bit of a double-standard, eh?

RockPaperShotgun writer Graham Smith got in contact with both King and Stolen Goose's Matthew Cox. Cox replied saying:

I don't really care that much that King.com copied our game. I have no interest or goal whatsoever of limiting other people's ability to create whatever they want. (As you point out, we smoothed things over with King a long time ago.) I only resurfaced this in response to the actions King is taking to limit the innovation of others.

King's treatment of our intellectual property combined with their partial use of NAMCO's trademark Pac(man) in their copied game shows extreme hypocrisy.

They're in the process of trademarking a common word — "Candy" — and have already taken action against other apps like Candy Slots, for example.

By trademarking the word "Candy" they limit all of our freedom whether we're big or small... You can't make a Candy game. I can't make a candy game. Not even great candy empires like Hershey, Ferrara, or Jelly Belly can make candy games.

Kings response on the allegations are as follows:

"King does not clone other people's games. King believes that IP – both our own IP and that of others – is important and should be properly protected. Like any prudent company, we take all appropriate steps to protect our IP in a sensible and fair way. At the same time, we are respectful of the rights and IP of other developers. Before we launch any game, we do a thorough search of other games in the marketplace, as well as a review of trademark filings, to ensure that we are not infringing anyone else's IP. However, for the avoidance of doubt, in this case, this game – which was coded by a third party developer 5 years ago – has been taken down."

A bold move by King indeed. Whether or not these allegations are true or not, this is yet more negative publicity for them. Will this affect their ever expanding power? Probably not. The saga continues.

Comments (3)
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Posts: 297

If only..

Posts: 3290


Posts: 207

We need to start solving these disputes 'barter town style'

'Two men enter, one man leaves!'