Individually, King responded to each of these incidents... though their responses left a lot to be desired. Some, like how they handled the cloning situation – denying the accusation and destroying the evidence in one fell swoop – seemed downright sinister. But now, in the week following some difficult press, King CEO and Founder Riccardo Zacconi has issued an open letter to discuss all of these matters in a frank, open and honest way.
"Over the last few days, there has been a vigorous debate both inside and outside King about how we protect our intellectual property," Zacconi writes. "I want to set the record straight about where we stand on these issues, and clarify our philosophy on intellectual property. At its simplest, our policy is to protect our IP and to also respect the IP of others."
The letter, which he titles 'Our approach to IP,' goes to great lengths to tell King's side of the story. More importantly though, it does so without feeling like it's been run past a hundred lawyers. It doesn't feel like the statements the company was issuing last week that felt like hollow denials and misdirection – instead it reads like the truth – and as anyone can tell you, the truth is a complicated thing.
To Benny Hsu, Stoic Games, and Junkyard Sam, the truth is that King has been on the offensive, creating difficulties that none of them should have to face. To King, though, the truth is that yes, they've made some mistakes, but ultimately they're just looking out for their IPs and not intentionally trying to harm anyone else's.
Those who have been following King's 'saga' over the last week really owe it to themselves to read Zacconi's full post, but for those of you in a hurry, here are the highlights.
Zacconi on Scamperghost/Pac-Avoid
"The details of the situation are complex, but the bottom line is that we should never have published Pac-Avoid. We have taken the game down from our site, and we apologise for having published it in the first place."
Zacconi on CANDY™
"We've been the subject of no little scorn for our actions on this front, but the truth is that there is nothing very unusual about trademarking a common word for specific uses. Think of "Time", "Money" "Fortune", "Apple", and "Sun", to name a few. We are not trying to control the world's use of the word "Candy;" having a trade mark doesn't allow us to do that anyway. We're just trying to prevent others from creating games that unfairly capitalise on our success."
Zacconi on The Banner Saga
"We're not trying to stop Stoic from using the word Saga but we had to oppose their application to preserve our own ability to protect our own games. Otherwise, it would be much easier for future copycats to argue that use of the word "Saga" when related to games, was fair play."
King's responses last week only seemed to make things worse in the public perception, but today's open letter from Zacconi seems to go a long way towards making things better – at least in this writer's view. What do you think, dear readers? Do Zacconi's explanations make you feel better about King than you did last week?