CEO Shares His Email Address
Candy Crush creators King Games have become public enemy number one recently after bullishly trademarking the word 'Candy,' serving threatening letters to indie developers and getting caught red-handed cloning other games. All while arguing that defending intellectual property is their ultimate goal.
However, there are two sides to every story, so CEO Riccardo Zacconi has penned an open letter explaining their recent actions, while promising to not use their newfound powers for evil.
He also shared his email address, which is interesting. Let's take a closer look.
"At its simplest, our policy is to protect our IP and to also respect the IP of others," Zacconi wrote. "We believe in a thriving game development community, and believe that good game developers – both small and large - have every right to protect the hard work they do and the games they create."
We agree wholeheartedly: protecting intellectual property is undeniably important and increasingly difficult in the derivative mobile space. Zacconi continued by suggesting that trademarking a common word is actually more common than most pundits believe, and promises to use restraint.
"To protect our IP, last year we acquired the trademark in the EU for “Candy” from a company that was in bankruptcy – and we have filed for a similar trademark in the U.S. We’ve been the subject of no little scorn for our actions on this front, but the truth is that there is nothing very unusual about trademarking a common word for specific uses. Think of “Time”, “Money” “Fortune”, “Apple”, and “Sun”, to name a few. We are not trying to control the world’s use of the word “Candy;” having a trade mark doesn’t allow us to do that anyway. We’re just trying to prevent others from creating games that unfairly capitalise on our success."
This would ring slightly truer if King hadn't already served a notice of opposition to Stoic Games, the developers behind The Banner Saga, despite the excellent SRPG having nothing to do with King's Match-three library - and not owning the "saga" trademark. "We don't believe that Banner Saga resembles any of our games but we already have a series of games where “Saga” is key to the brand which our players associate with King," the CEO argues, before stating that it's just a purely defensive measure. In effect, they're causing a small studio to lose sleep and fret about their future because... it makes them look more menacing? I'm having trouble shaking images of Alderaan here.
"We’re not trying to stop Stoic from using the word Saga but we had to oppose their application to preserve our own ability to protect our own games. Otherwise, it would be much easier for future copycats to argue that use of the word “Saga” when related to games, was fair play."
Zacconi also fielded concerns about Pac-Avoid, whose developer blew the whistle on blatant copycat cloning perpetrated by the company. King shrugs it off as a single error of judgement, and has now removed the game. "This unfortunate situation is an exception to the rule. King does not clone games, and we do not want anyone cloning our games," the letter continues. "We have launched hundreds of games. Occasionally, we get things wrong. When we do, we take appropriate action."
So, yeah. About that...
Having effectively founded a business on aggressive cloning - and staying just clear enough of trademarked names to avoid any legal action themselves - King's seemingly hypocritical attitude has riled both developers, pundits and the gaming community at large. If you have anything to say, though, you're apparently more than welcome to email Zacconi directly.
"Thank you for taking the time to read what we have to say. Personally, I try to read everything I can on this issue – if you want to contact me directly on this, or indeed any other aspect of what we do – please feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org I look forward to hearing from you."
Do feel free to share your responses as an open letter - and with us.