After hearing that Candy Crush Saga developer, King, had successfully trademarked the word ‘Candy’ alarm bells were ringing. The developers responsible for the ‘deeelicious’ manipulation of many thousands of people’s time and will to progress to the next level by any means necessary were now going so far as to attempt to control our language itself! My fears were further confirmed when the mobile gaming giant expressed plans to also trademark the word ‘Saga’. A sticky situation indeed.
King’s intentions are not to enforce trademark law on the common speaker, but upon App Store rivals who have been using similar names to leech from search results for Candy Crush Saga. Their games are being listed directly beneath iTunes’ most downloaded app of 2013, sometimes leading to confusion with potential buyers.
After battling indie developer Stoic’s The Banner Saga, many have become sceptical of the company’s seemingly petty grapples with competitors. Since the use of ‘saga’ in Stoic’s game refers to its Viking theme, it’s so far removed from Candy Crush that any comparison appears ludicrous.
In a statement, King claimed that while they didn’t want to stop The Banner Saga using their name, their concerns in “preserving our ability to enforce our rights in cases where other developers may try to use the Saga mark in a way which infringes our IP rights and causes player confusion”. Their legal opposition to The Banner Saga on such grounds, then, seemed not a genuine concern for the brand, but a public flexing of the muscles of a company fuelled by a reported million dollars a day from addicted users’ microtransactions, intimidating smaller developers with its growing market power.
King’s insistence on crushing copy-cat games is ironic, considering that Candy Crush Saga is by no means an innovation in gaming, using a famously addictive template and preventing progression without adding new players or paying up.
King’s conspicuous attempt at monopolising the mobile gaming landscape by unreasonable legal action is just another ugly layer under its ‘sweet’ exterior.
Gemma Joyce, Games Editor
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