Regarding the Open Letter from King Games’ CEO
Popularity often goes hand in hand with infamy, and King Games CEO Riccardo Zacconi is learning this more and more every day. His major money maker, Candy Crush Saga, has passed half a billion downloads and players seem to be content to pour more money into King’s coffers, but all’s not well in the palace. Disturbing allegations have swirled around the company in the past few months that accuse King of everything from overreaching trademarks to outright intellectual property theft. To try and stem the backlash, Zacconi composed an open letter addressing some of the allegations that can be viewed on the King Games site.
Zacconi began the letter by clarifying the company’s policy on intellectual property: “to protect our IP and to also respect the IP of others.” King has been accused of disrespecting IP with regards to one of their games–Pac-Avoid–and a game published by another company called ScamperGhost. Zacconi says the details are “complex” (although one of ScamperGhost’s developers lays it out pretty simply) but sums up the situation by saying “we should never have published Pac-Avoid.”
With that apology, Zacconi moves on to another topic–trademarking the words “candy” and “saga.” This has gotten a lot of press, and we’ve already talked extensively about it on this blog, so Zacconi’s stance (that King’s just trying to protect their own IP from clones) isn’t surprising. He brings up a good point that plenty of common words have been trademarked, such as “Life” and “Time” have been by their respective magazines. What’s more newsworthy is Zacconi’s assertion that King won’t prevent Stoic Games from calling their most recent release “Banner Saga”; apparently, they only sued Stoic to protect their right to defend their trademark.
Recently, King’s “games guru” Tommy Palm weighed in on the controversy, saying that “we’re not evil villains building an empire.” Considering that their actions across the board have been condemned as “predatory” by the International Game Developers Association, King Games might have to release a few more open letters if they want to win any new fans.