Two big players in a burgeoning market for time-sucking puzzle games will lock horns in San Francisco court instead of Hong Kong, a judge ruled this week.
That means lovers of Candy Crush, the obnoxiously colored Facebook app that allows users to mix and match their favorite sweets, won't have to travel far to watch its locally headquartered maker, King.com, battle an alleged copycat from Hong Kong.
In a complaint filed last August, King accused defendant 6Waves of copying the theme, look, feel, and graphics of two of its other, non-sugary games, Pet Rescue Saga and Farm Heroes Saga. The defendant's versions were so blatantly derivative, King's lawyers wrote, that they even filched the plaintiff's cartoon character tutorials.
For instance: In Level 1 of Pet Rescue Saga, a Panama-hatted squirrel urges players to "Click on groups of the same color and remove them!" In 6Wave's replication, called Tresure epic, a scantily clad female spelunker offers the same instructions. King says that 6Waves also replicated its cartoon landscape design, its pop-up dialogue boxes, the configuration and sheen of its block stacks, and even its reward system.
So far, 6Waves has denied these allegations, arguing, in a statement to tech blog re/code, that such themes as farms and jewels are ubiquitous in smartphone games, which makes copyright claims irrelevant. The company has yet to answer SF Weekly's requests for comment.
We do know, however, that cloning is also ubiquitous in the gaming sphere -- to such an extent that companies like Zynga rendered it a business model. King itself was accused of copyright infringement by a developer named Matthew Cox, who says he tried to license an in-development game called Scamperghost to the company 4 years ago; instead of accepting the deal, King published an uncannily similar version called Pac-Avoid.
It promptly chucked the clone after Cox cried foul.