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Candy Crush creators called out for cloning

Candy Crush creators called out for cloning

King.com, of Candy Crush Saga infamy, has been accused of hiring an outside developer to directly clone a competitor's game.

Candy Crush Saga developer King.com has been accused of blatantly cloning a rival title, despite the company's heavy-handed approach to protecting its own games and trademarks.

A developer of so-called casual games, typically employing the 'pay-to-win' variant of the freemium model, King.com is a giant in the industry. Recently, however, it has turned to bullying competitors with legal threats, most absurdly surrounding its claimed rights to such generic terms as 'Saga' - attacking rival Stoic over its otherwise completely distinct game The Banner Saga.

Now, independent developer Matthew Cox has stepped forward to claim that King.com directly cloned a game he developed with Nick Bray following talks regarding licensing the title - a far more serious case of infringement than a simple trademark disagreement.

In a post to his website, Cox claims that he and Bray approached King.com's Lars Jörnow in 2009 with a view to licensing the title Scamperghost, a Pac-Man derivative which re-imagined the title as a rapid-action mouse avoider. Talks went well, but prior to the contracts being signed the developers received a better offer from one of King.com's competitors - and, naturally, went where the money was.

That's when King.com is accused of hiring development house EpicShadow to produce a direct clone of Scamperghost. The company has admitted to doing so at Jörnow's request, claiming that it was told that contracts had been signed giving King.com rights to the game but that Cox and Bray had broken those contracts - something Cox strongly denies.

The result was Pac-Avoid, a near-exact clone of Scamperghost featuring the same mechanics and visual styling. As well as cloning a competitor's game outright, the title - Pac-Avoid - arguably infringes on Namco's rights to the Pac-Man trademark, an argument King.com is attempting to use against its own rivals.

Caught out, King.com issued the following statement to press: 'King does not clone other peoples' 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.'

While the game has been removed from the company's website, it has not provided an explanation for how it could come so close to infringing on Namco's Pac-Man trademark if it did, indeed, perform searches, and nor has the company commented on confirmation from Pac-Avoid developer EpicShadow that the company did indeed request a direct clone of the game.

15 Comments

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Gunsmith 27th January 2014, 11:21 Quote
More proof that the mobile/facebook sector is corporate inbreeding focusing on quick cash generators amid a wasteland of creative fortitude.
rpsgc 27th January 2014, 11:56 Quote
King.com = scum of the Earth.
KidMod-Southpaw 27th January 2014, 12:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunsmith
More proof that the mobile/facebook sector is corporate inbreeding focusing on quick cash generators amid a wasteland of creative fortitude.

And is it any wonder? People just lap it up. :(
Gunsmith 27th January 2014, 13:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by KidMod-Southpaw
And is it any wonder? People just lap it up. :(

like the general public is going to know any better. my old lady started playing CCS, took me a week and a copy of bejewled to ween her off it.
KidMod-Southpaw 27th January 2014, 17:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunsmith
like the general public is going to know any better. my old lady started playing CCS, took me a week and a copy of bejewled to ween her off it.

Mmm. :/ Oh well, let people waste their money paying to win I suppose.
law99 27th January 2014, 19:13 Quote
Bejewelled I like... soz.
Draksis 28th January 2014, 05:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by KidMod-Southpaw
And is it any wonder? People just lap it up. :(
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunsmith
like the general public is going to know any better. my old lady started playing CCS, took me a week and a copy of bejewled to ween her off it.

It's less lap up, and more directly into the vain with those games. I swear there's something in the coding that does that...

/conspiracy
r3loaded 28th January 2014, 09:40 Quote
Do people actually pay to win in CCS? There was a time that a lot of my FB friends were playing it and I'm quite sure none of them ever paid (one guy did run the Flash code through a debugger to unlock all the levels though).
Kovoet 28th January 2014, 09:46 Quote
All my staff at work play it. Sad sad people. Do I drive them so crazy, I ask myself?
Dogbert666 28th January 2014, 09:59 Quote
I'll admit to having become a little addicted to Bejeweled recently, but that's mainly when I'm on the tube and have forgotten to charge/bring my Kindle.
Shirty 28th January 2014, 10:05 Quote
Isn't Bejeweled a standalone game though? As in no micro transactions?

I can live with that, although with Humble Android Bundles being what they are I enjoy quality mobile games rather then these sort of things.
Dogbert666 28th January 2014, 10:11 Quote
That it is. I avoid micro transactions entirely.

That's fair enough - in all honestly mobile gaming has really never taken off for me beyond quick fix casual titles like Bejewled (although there's probably more such games that I'm missing out on too). I'd much rather read or just listen to music. It must be related to screen size in some way, as I've never really understood how people can watch TV or even entire films on a mobile phone, and I don't own a tablet.
Shirty 28th January 2014, 10:41 Quote
If you have a screen over 4" try Bloons TD5 for 20 minutes.

See you in March ;)
Dogbert666 28th January 2014, 10:51 Quote
Aaah! I'd forgotten how much I love tower defence games :(
Shirty 28th January 2014, 10:55 Quote
Seriously, I was hours away from requiring marital counselling until I uninstalled it
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