As is often the case with Facebook games, someone is accusing someone else of copying its game – and it doesn't involve Zynga.. Social game developer Kixeye is accusing fellow social game developer Kabam of copying its Backyard Monsters game.
Kixeye, best known for its popular Battle Pirates game, says that Kabam’s upcoming Edgeworld game is simply a "re-skinned" copy of Backyard Monsters. Will Harbin, chief executive of Kixeye in San Francisco, said in a recent interview that his studios "exploring all options," one of which we suspect will involve some type of litigation against Kabam.
The Redwood City, CA-based Kabam told VentureBeat that it has not even released Edgeworld officially because it is currently in the beta testing phase. Further the company denies the accusation that the game is a simply a re-skinned rip-off.
Harbin said that Kixeye became aware of the game when users asked Kixeye support questions about Edgeworld. He alleges that users somehow assumed his company made the game because it is so similar to Backyard Monsters.
Harbin acknowledged that accusations of copying are common in the social gaming space, but felt that this case was particularly egregious because Edgeworld appears to copy a number of game mechanics from Backyard Monsters.
"They crossed the line where it’s outright copying,” Harbin said. "It’s not only insulting to us. It’s very bad for this space. We are fighting an uphill battle to create hardcore games on Facebook. The more clones there are for these games, the more they could sour consumers on the whole market."
"Kabam’s focus is to develop engaging, deeply immersive games on social platforms that core gamers will enjoy playing," Kabam CEO Kevin Chou said in response. "Edgeworld, a new Kabam title still in beta, represents a new step in the continuum of massively multiplayer social games. As a strategy game, it builds and expands on our previous 4 successful strategy games, and features a host of new gameplay mechanics to further entertain and engage our core gamers."
"Our team draws ideas and inspiration from many sources, including movies, pop culture, science fiction, literature, history and, most importantly, from our players," added Chou. "We’re flattered by the fact that others in the industry are commenting on Edgeworld. It validates our belief that Edgeworld is a great game worthy of attention, and we’ll have more to share about the game soon."
We will follow this story and see where it ends, but my best guess is that it will involve a California court room.