Home FINANCE Ikea threatens to sue indie horror game developer over Scandinavian furniture store setting

Ikea threatens to sue indie horror game developer over Scandinavian furniture store setting

by Fortune
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Ikea threatens to sue indie horror game developer over Scandinavian furniture store setting

Swedish retail giant Ikea has threatened legal action against an indie horror video game, demanding changes to its setting after the virtual location appeared to resemble the real-life furniture store a bit too closely. 

The game in question is a co-operative survival game called “The Store is Closed,” and was developed by the U.K.-based Jacob Shaw, under the studio name Ziggy. However, the game is yet to be released to the wider public and is still seeking funding through a campaign on Kickstarter, having raised just over $64,000 at the time of writing. 

The furniture store in the game is called “STYR,” the Swedish word for controls, and is described as “infinite.” Players must use their surroundings to fight off threats by building weapons, creating fortifications, and even constructing towers to find an escape. 

However, the similarities between the store and the game were just too much for Ikea. The company, which reached almost $40 billion in revenue last year, has issued a cease and desist letter, and the solo developer was given just 10 days to “change the game and remove all indicia associated with the famous Ikea stores.”

The response appears to have been triggered by direct comparisons by press organizations between the game and Ikea, while the game itself and any descriptions do not represent the store at any point.

Ikea cites “False advertising”

In the letter, Ikea’s legal representatives, Fross Zelnick, pointed out some specifics which led to their complaint, including a “blue and yellow sign with a Scandinavian name on the store, a blue box-like building, yellow vertical striped 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.” 

They maintain that this constitutes “unfair competition and false advertising.” However, Shaw disputed the claims in a report by Kotaku, saying that the furniture in particular was always based on generic designs.

Despite disagreeing, Shaw is working on adhering to the company’s demands: “I was going to spend the last week of my Kickstarter preparing an update for all the new alpha testers,” Shaw told Kotaku. “Now I’ve got to desperately revamp the entire look of the game so I don’t get sued,” he said. 

In a statement, a spokesperson from Ikea told Fortune: “While we think it’s flattering that others are inspired by the Ikea brand, we must be diligent to ensure that the Ikea trademarks and trade dress are not misapplied.

“Various elements of the video game currently correspond in appearance with the Ikea brand features. We’ve reached out to the creator of the video and asked them to make changes to those elements to ensure that this is no longer the case. They expressed that they understand our request and agreed to make those changes. This should all be well in time for the expected 2024 launch of the game.

“We wish the creator of the game the best of luck!.”

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This story originally Appeared on Fortune

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