In this week’s ongoing saga about King and their controversial “trademark trolling” of common dictionary words- oops, I just said the “s” word in that last sentence, I hope I don’t need to call a lawyer now. Anyway, after the whole CANDY debacle on Monday, the internet then learned that King was also targeting recent indie darling The Banner Saga from Stoic as well, with reports claiming that the Viking-themed SRPG infringed upon the way the word “Saga” is a known extension of many of King’s popular gaming brands.
As you might expect, this story about King attacking The Banner Saga quickly spread like a wildfire across the gaming world, forcing King’s PR department to make yet another statement to try and clear up all of the negative press about them. Spoiler alert: people are still disgusted. The latest statement reads:
“King has not and is not trying to stop Banner Saga from using its name. We do not have any concerns that Banner Saga is trying build on our brand or our content. However, like any prudent company, we need to take all appropriate steps to protect our IP, both now and in the future.
“In this case, that means 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. If we had not opposed Banner Saga’s trade mark application, it would be much easier for real copy cats to argue that their use of ‘Saga’ was legitimate.
“This is an important issue for King because we already have a series of games where ‘Saga’ is key to the brand which our players associate with a King game; Candy Crush Saga, Bubble Witch Saga, Pet Rescue Saga, Farm Heroes Saga and so on. All of these titles have already faced substantive trademark and copyright issues with clones.”
“Wait, which one is the match-3 game again?
Soooo… King is not trying to go after The Banner Saga, but because they’re so committed to stopping copycat games from other developers, they’re going after The Banner Saga.
King keeps throwing the word “confusion” around in these statements too, which many feel is basically like saying that the powerhouse developer thinks their gamers (you know, the ones who generate millions of dollars for them on a daily basis) are too stupid or simple-minded to recognize the difference between a game made by King and another clone or knockoff game that happens to share the same word in its title.
It’s certainly going to be an interesting ride as we wait and see how this battle will unfold in the coming days. Even though King may be one of the biggest powerhouses in the gaming scene today, I don’t think they realize quite yet the kind of influence that a completed united and angry community of gamers can hold: just ask Microsoft about that one.