Ikea Threatens Legal Action Over Furniture Store Survival Game – PCMag

Solo indie developer Jacob Shaw is trapped in a real-life survival horror experience with the Swedish furniture giant.
I’ve been working at PCMag since November 2016, covering all areas of technology and video game news. Before that I spent nearly 15 years working at Geek.com as a writer and editor. I also spent the first six years after leaving university as a professional game designer working with Disney, Games Workshop, 20th Century Fox, and Vivendi.
A solo indie game developer is facing legal action by Ikea over his unreleased furniture store survival game.
As Kotaku reports(Opens in a new window), the game is called The Store if Closed(Opens in a new window), and is described as a “coop survival game set in an infinite furniture store.” The player is trapped in the store and tasked with finding their way out either alone or with the help of friends. Along the way, weapons can be crafted and fortifications built out of furniture, all while surviving attacks from “mutant staff.”
Even though there’s no direct reference to Ikea in the game, the Swedish company has sent developer Jacob Shaw(Opens in a new window) (also known as Ziggy) a cease and desist letter. Ikea claims the game infringes trademarks because:
“Your game uses a blue and yellow sign with a Scandinavian name on the store, a blue box-like building, yellow vertical stiped shirts identical to those worn by IKEA personnel, a gray path on the floor, furniture that looks like IKEA furniture, and product signage that looks like IKEA signage. All the foregoing immediately suggest that the game takes place in an IKEA store.”
The letter goes on to state that “Further, numerous comments by readers of these stories make an association with IKEA stores.”
Even though the Kickstarter-funded game(Opens in a new window) hasn’t been released yet, Ikea is only giving Shaw ten working days from the date of the letter to remove all the so-called infringements, which the letter refers to as “indicia.” Shaw doesn’t see many options other than to comply and “desperately revamp the entire look of the game so I don’t get sued.”
However, regardless of what Shaw does to change the game, everyone will now associate it with Ikea due to the legal action the company is taking.
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I’ve been working at PCMag since November 2016, covering all areas of technology and video game news. Before that I spent nearly 15 years working at Geek.com as a writer and editor. I also spent the first six years after leaving university as a professional game designer working with Disney, Games Workshop, 20th Century Fox, and Vivendi.
I hold two degrees: a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and a Master’s degree in Games Development. My first book, Make Your Own Pixel Art, is available from all good book shops.
Read Matthew’s full bio
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