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MumboJumbo Responds To  StoneLoops  Vs.  Luxor  iPhone Game Controversy

MumboJumbo Responds To StoneLoops Vs. Luxor iPhone Game Controversy

October 29, 2009 | By Danny Cowan, Simon Carless

October 29, 2009 | By Danny Cowan, Simon Carless
More: Console/PC

Following the removal of iPhone puzzle game StoneLoops! Of Jurassica from Apple's iPhone App Store after a complaint by Luxor creator MumboJumbo, the casual publisher tells Gamasutra of "misleading statements and factual errors" in allegations against them.

The controversy over Codeminion's and Playcreek's iPhone game StoneLoops! Of Jurassica was first surfaced due to a weblog post at Codeminion's website discussing its disappearance from the App Store.

Gamasutra sister iPhone website FingerGaming covered the story shortly after it broke, adding the following context: "According to allegations from Codeminion's Maciej Biedrzycki, MumboJumbo accused the StoneLoops! developer of 'infringing Luxor copyright, confusing customers, stealing Luxor's look & feel and even stealing their source code.'" Apple notified Codeminion of the complaint earlier this month.

MumboJumbo also claimed that App Store customers searching for "Luxor" (left-hand side of inset image) would find StoneLoops! (right-hand side of inset image) listed among the search results, due to Codeminion including a review quote that cited a similarity between the two games.

Biedrzycki claims that Codeminion volunteered to remove the quote, but heard no further response from Apple. On October 23rd, still allegedly with no reply or prior warning from Apple, StoneLoops! was removed from the App Store.

Codeminion claims Apple asked MumboJumbo whether Codeminion's offer to remove the offending quote was sufficient to warrant dropping the complaint. MumboJumbo persisted, and StoneLoops! was allegedly delisted as a result. Titles with similar gameplay styles like Tumblebugs, Blackbeard's Assault, and Atlantis Sky Patrol are still available for sale. StoneLoops! was released several months before the iPhone version of Luxor, and to date has been the more successful game, charting among the App Store's top 10 sellers in the games category for its first two months of North American release.

Following the weblog post and FingerGaming's report, Gamasutra followed up with all of the parties in question. Codeminion's Maciej Biedrzycki, who developed the original PC version of StoneLoops!, commented simply to Gamasutra: "Currently we are exploring various options and getting legal advice as we feel the need to defend our rights and our business."

In addition, Alexander Kiselyov of Playcreek, which created the iPhone version of Codeminion's original game, told Gamasutra, "We believe that StoneLoops! of Jurassica does not infringe anyone's IP rights and we hope that it will get back to the App Store very soon." He added that a longer public statement is being prepared.

Finally, veteran PC casual game developer MumboJumbo provided an official statement to Gamasutra which reads as follows: "We are aware of the statement from Maciej Biedrzycki on the Codeminion website. It is replete with misleading statements and factual errors which do not accurately describe the events and circumstances leading to the removal of the infringing properties from the App Store.

"As one of the first independent developers and publishers of casual games for all platforms, MumboJumbo has assisted the creation of many quality games from developers all around the world for almost a decade.

"While MumboJumbo has always supported and promoted free and ethical competition, MumboJumbo has the right and the obligation to protect itself and its intellectual properties from infringement and unfair competition."

Gamasutra has followed up with MumboJumbo to attempt to better ascertain the nature of the alleged factual inaccuracies in the original Codeminion report, and will update if any additional information is received.

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