One aside Zynga! Move over EA! King.com are on a mission to become the most hated maker of videogames on the planet if this past week is any indication. On Monday, the entire saga (pun intended) began when King made their intentions to trademark the use of the word “candy” in video games known. Not unsimilar to when Bethesda attempted to stop Mojang from creating a game called Scrolls because of their Elder Scrolls series, King.com plans to use their sudden onset power in the mobile gaming market to stop people from confusing anything with their Candy Crush Saga game. Taken on its own, this is a scummy business practice, but it’s not unprecedented.
Then yesterday, news broke of King.com also attempting to trademark the word “saga” in games, which puts it in legal contention with the recently released The Banner Saga. Considering that one of these games is a hand drawn strategy RPG and the other is a mobile puzzle game, this set the gaming public into a fervor over King.com’s alleged overstepping of their boundaries. A candy themed game jam was launched in protest of trademark trolling, and journalists and game designers alike chimed in on Twitter in opposition to the company. King.com has since claimed that they don’t plan to go after The Banner Saga legally, but this did little to calm the firestorm.
This brings us to today, when game developer Stolen Goose has come forward with convincing claims that King.com cancelled a project they were both working on and then rushed out a clone of it behind their backs. The games in question are Pac-Man-esque avoidance games, and it’s interesting how King.com’s Pac-Avoid takes those inspirations quite a bit more literally than Stolen Goose’s Scamperghost. Companies like Zynga and Rovio have been accused of this in the past, but in a week where so much ire is directed their way, this only adds to the narrative of King.com being a greedy company who has double standards when it comes to intellectual property. As for me personally, I’m just rather annoyed that their companies name is a web address. What is this, 2002?