Much has been said of mobile and social game developer King, its trademark of the word “candy” and subsequent enforcement, and its commissioning a clone of another developer’s game. Following last week’s news that King allegedly used another game as the template for Candy Crush Saga and then enforced its “candy” trademark on that title’s developer, the Independent Game Developers Association has spoken out.

“As an advocacy organization for game developers, the IGDA diligently monitors issues that may restrict a developer's ability to create and distribute his or her work,” a statement from the organization’s board of trustees states. “After reviewing the Trademark filing and subsequent conduct by King Inc. in relation to its popular game, ‘Candy Crush Saga,’ we feel we should comment.”

“While we understand and respect the appropriate exercise of Trademark rights, King's overreaching filing in its application for the Trademark for its game ‘Candy Crush Saga,’ and its predatory efforts to apply that mark to each separate word contained in that name, are in opposition to the values of openness and cooperation we support industry wide, and directly contradict the statement King's CEO, Riccardo Zacconi, made on January 27th.”

Zacconi’s statement was a response to the allegations of theft from the developers of flash game Pac-Avoid. The company also filed an opposition to Stoic Studio’s attempt to trademark the name of its game, The Banner Saga. 

The IGDA says that it will be offering a more detailed analysis of the situation soon. In the meantime, King has filed paperwork for an initial public offering here in the United States. Once that occurs, King will be traded on the New York Stock Exchange. The company currently has studios in Stockholm, Barcelona, Bucharest, Malmö, and London. It also has business offices in San Francisco and Malta.


Our Take
King hasn’t made any friends recently, and it seems to be following in Zynga’s footsteps in that way and others. For savvy investors, this will mean a lot of money made in the short term, with the smartest getting out before the bottom falls out. It’ll be bad news for those that hang on too long.

King reported a 3 percent decline in quarter-to-quarter revenue along with decreasing numbers of paying users (even though total user base has increased). This means more people are playing for free without converting. Zynga tried to recapture Farmville’s success and failed. Now we’re going to watch King chase the Candy Crush dragon.