Matthew Cox, one member of indie studio Stolen Goose, has made allegations that publisher King.com directly copied his game, Scamperghost. On his personal website, Cox says that Stolen Goose was in talks with King vice president of mobile game Lars Jornow to bring Scamperghost to King's RoyalGames portal. During negotiations, Stolen Goose decided that an alternate online portal, MaxGames.com, made a better offer, so they parted ways with King.
Cox says King then had another developer, EpicShadow, clone Scamperghost to create Pac-Avoid. In an email to Stolen Goose about the situation, Jornow explained that King had decided to sponsor a similar game. When Cox emailed Pac-Avoid's developer, EpicShadow, he was told that the second developer was asked by King to clone the game.
"First off, sorry that we cloned your game for Lars of King.com," wrote EpicShadow's Matt Porter in an email. "Lars approached us one day explaining that you (Stolen Goose) had signed a contract, had been working with him on finishing the deal, and then got a better deal and backed out. He asked us to clone the game very quickly, and even wanted to beat the release of the original game."
According to Cox, no such contract was signed. Porter told VentureBeat that his team was paid $3,000 to clone the game and he believes that Stolen Goose "probably did something that wasn't perfectly ethical." Despite his belief, Porter says that does not validate King's decision to clone the game.
"Scamperghost isn't the most original game in the world. It's obviously inspired by Pac-Man but we at least took it in an original direction by making it a mouse avoider with no walls," said Cox in his post. "King.com, however, showed no respect for other people's intellectual property when they made a direct, blatant clone of Scamperghost. Now they've trademarked "Candy" and are using their massive legal power against other small competing developers. A bit of a double-standard, eh?"
King.com has yet to respond to our request for comment.