It seems that the cooperative survival game The Store is Closed has been requested by furniture sales chain IKEA to change the work. The stage of the work is modeled on IKEA, and the designs such as signboards are similar. That point seems to have been regarded as a problem by IKEA. Overseas media Kodak reports.
THE STORE IS CLOSED is a survival game. The stage is a large furniture mall called STAR. However, it is not an ordinary furniture mall. It is an abnormal space where the clerk who has become a mutated clerk attacks at night. Players can do tool craft and base construction at this mall. Players aim to survive using all the facilities and items in the furniture malls in one-man play and online cooperation play. This work is currently conducting a crowdfunding campaign at Kickstarter, and has gained about 44,000 pounds (about 7.5 million yen), which significantly exceeds the target amount. It is a work that has been highly expected before the release.
However, according to Kodak, overseas media, this work seems to be currently receiving a recommendation from a large furniture sales chain IKEA to change IKEA-style elements. Jacob Shaw, who develops this work, has received a Cease and Desist Letter from IKEA’s lawyer.
THE STORE IS CLOSED is clearly based on IKEA. Although the name is blurred as STAR, signboards and clerk’s uniforms based on blue and yellow clearly reproduce IKEA. The base of this work is SCP-3008, one of the creative works in the co-creative community SCP. This is clearly stated that it is an abnormal space based on IKEA. The Store is Closed is developed by Shaw based on this SCP settings. Above all, the TikTok video of this work is also inserted in the hashtag as #IKEA. The fact that this work is a real survival set in IKEA is quite explicit like this.
In a notice from a lawyer IKEA to Shaw, this work pointed out that IKEA is using IKEA-related designs without the permission of the IKEA side. Specifically, from the prominent points such as Scandinavian store name drawn in blue and yellow, store like a blue box, and yellow employee uniform, conductive wires shown on the floor and IKEA IKEA. It is said that there are similarities to the point of wind furniture. In the same notice, multiple media reported that this work and IKEA reported that the readers were linked to IKEA. Based on that point, IKEA lawyers argued that Shaw was violating the US Trade Market Law and seeing a full replacement of similar parts in the work.
However, there seems to be a rebuttal to Shaw. First, the characteristic blue and yellow signboards and stores are only on the title screen and the beginning of the current alpha stage build of this work. It is said that such branding elements do not appear in the main story. In addition, the store name STAR claimed by lawyers as Scandinavian-style store name is Store, and it seems that there is only the same word in Swedish. He also pointed out that the name IKEA is not a Swedish word, but a combination of the founders and land initials. He reports that the lawyer’s claim is somewhat questionable.
And it would be difficult to change or draw IKEA-style furniture. For Kodak, Shaw says, IKEA is not particularly conscious and buys and uses an asset pack of furniture. In other words, the asset is common, at least Shaw himself is not designed with IKEA-style furniture in mind. Also, conductor shown on the floor is not particularly unique to IKEA.
According to Kodak, the IKEA lawyer commented in the notice that it would be easy to change the furniture store in the game so as not to suggest IKEA. He also said that if this work would be released in 2024, it would be easy to change. However, shortly afterwards, it was said that the request was made to change within 10 business days after this notice arrived.
As The Store is Closed is modeled on IKEA, it would be legal and ethical to ask for a change from the IKEA side. On the other hand, if Shaw’s content is true, it is doubtful whether the IKEA lawyer’s request is appropriate. In order to avoid litigation, we have to change various parts of the game to avoid litigation, Kodak. How will this work be changed in the future, and will we make a compromise with the IKEA side?
THE STORE IS CLOSED will be distributed early on PC (Steam) in late 2024. The release for PS5/Xbox Series X | S is also planned.