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Kixeye, Kabam Clash Over Game Copying Accusations

Kixeye, Kabam Clash Over Game Copying Accusations

July 27, 2011 | By Kyle Orland

Social gaming developer Kixeye is publicly accusing competitor Kabam of copying its popular Backyard Monsters title in designing its new release Edgeworld, a claim Kabam strongly denies.

Kixeye claims 12 million lifetime installs for its Backyard Monsters strategy title, which currently has over 3.6 million monthly players on Facebook. The company says Kabam of trying to latch on to this success with Edgeworld, which recently launched in beta and has already found over 230,000 monthly users on Facebook.

"At Kixeye, we believe that constant improvement and creative new ideas are essential for moving social gaming forward, and condemn any and all developers that look to simply copy the hard work of others," the company said in a statement.

"There is no question that the engineers of EdgeWorld had Backyard Monsters open in one window while they coded the copy in another," Kixeye CEO Will Harbin said in the statement. "It's not detrimental to Kixeye in the short term, but this kind of practice is bad for all of us in the gaming industry - it will eventually sour users and it certainly does the opposite of proving that Facebook can be a legitimate gaming platform."

Harbin goes on to point out similarities between Kabam's Kingdoms of Camelot and fantasy RTS Evony as further evidence that the company "is wasting talent and resources on cloning games that already exist."

For his part, Kabam CEO Kevin Chou said Edgeworld "represents a new step in the continuum of massively multiplayer social games" and "features a host of new gameplay mechanics to further entertain and engage our core gamers."

Rather than simply copying Backyard Monsters, Chou said the Kabam team expanded on four of its own previous strategy titles in making Edgeworld, and drew inspiration from "movies, pop culture, science fiction, literature, history and, most importantly, from our players."

"We're flattered by the fact that others in the industry are commenting on Edgeworld," Chou continued. "It validates our belief that Edgeworld is a great game worthy of attention, and we’ll have more to share about the game soon."

Accusations of game cloning and idea-stealing have been a part of the video game industry since Pong, though the practice has likely increased with the explosion of casual mobile and social game popularity.

Capcom recently courted controversy and later apologized for iPhone title MaXplosion, a game that bore more than a slight resemblance to Twisted Pixel's XBLA Splosion Man.

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