King.com Takes Down Cloned Game
Yesterday, we reported about an independent developer’s allegations that King.com had cloned his game. At that time, we reached out to King.com for comment, inquiring about the company’s actions related to its recent assertion of its own intellectual property rights.
“King does not clone other peoples’ games,” a representative told us via email. “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.”
In this case, developer Matthew Cox showed that King.com’s Lars Jörnow was not only aware of Scamperghost, but was in negotiations to publish it. A conversation with former Epic Shadow developer Matt Porter detailed how Pac-Avoid, a Scamperghost clone, came to be. According to Porter, Jörnow commissioned developer Epic Shadow Entertainment to create the game following Scamperghost as a blueprint.
“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,” the statement continues.
The evidence that Cox presented contradicts this statement. Scamperghost might not have come up in a traditional trademark search, but emails clearly indicate Jörnow was aware.
King.com tells us that it has removed Pac-Avoid from its online arcade. “For the avoidance of doubt, in this case, this game – which was coded by a third-party developer five years ago – has been taken down.”
This statement is carefully worded to shift the blame onto Epic Shadow, which was allegedly commissioned by King to create the clone. While it is true that King.com didn’t make the game itself, the public evidence released yesterday suggests that King.com initiated Pac-Avoid's development.