Ikea is known for many things: cost-conscious furniture, affordable Swedish food, and (now) suing independent game developers for using a storefront similar to theirs.
The Swedish-based furniture company has filed a lawsuit against Jacob Shaw, an independent game developer in the United Kingdom. Ikea asked Shaw to make changes to the unreleased survival horror game Store closed.
The game, available for pre-order on Kickstarter, is a crafting and survival game based in a furniture store that looks amazingly similar to Ikea. Although the interior of the store (where the bulk of the game is played) appears to be a general furniture store and uses generic assets (according to Shaw), there are some specific calls to the popular furniture brand.
For example, the storefront (which appears in the teaser trailer) has a Swedish name, “Styr,” in the same blue and yellow color scheme as Ikea’s retail locations. Many of the enemies in the game wear yellow striped shirts that resemble the uniforms of Ikea employees. The price tags shown in the catalogs in the game also look similar to Ikea cards.
In a letter to Shaw, Ikea lawyers also claim that the toy has a “gray track on the floor, furniture that looks like Ikea furniture, and product signage that looks like Ikea signage.” The lawsuit gives Shaw 10 days to make all changes listed in the registry or other action will be taken.
Shaw stated that he would comply with the request and make the necessary changes.
Many have concluded that the game may be less inspired by the horrors of shopping for flat-packed furniture and more by a piece of terrifying fantasy. One entry in the SCP Foundation Wiki, a powerful repository of horror-themed short stories about anomalies, is SCP-3008, which describes an Ikea store that looks normal on the outside but is actually a never-ending maze through which there is no escape. Inside the ethereal store, unidentified employees roam the aisles like zombies, searching for trapped customers to inform them that the store is closed before their limbs are ripped off.
What’s curious is that Ikea apparently has no problem with this short story, as it’s been on the SCP Wiki for years. The main difference is that the SCP entry is a piece of satire with no liquefaction attached to it, while the Shaw is a salable product.
For its part, IKEA only wants to change Shaw Store closed By removing the bits that indicate the company’s brand. In a statement to Kotaku, the company said:
While we think it’s fun that others are inspired by the Ikea brand, we have to be careful to ensure we don’t misapply the Ikea branding and trade dress. The various elements of the video game are currently consistent in appearance with the features of the Ikea brand. We’ve reached out to the creator of the video and asked them to make changes to these items to make sure that’s no longer the case. They understood our request and agreed to make those changes. All of this should be well in time for the game’s expected launch in 2024.
I’ve been a computer geek my whole life. After graduating from college and earning a degree in mathematics, I worked in finance and banking a few years before taking a job as a database administrator. I started working with Notebookcheck in October 2016 and have enjoyed writing news and reviews. I’ve also written for other outlets including UltrabookReview and GeeksWorldWide, focusing on consumer guidance and video games. My areas of interest include the business side of technology, legacy games, Linux, and innovative gadgets. When I’m not writing on electronics or playing with an instrument, I’m either out with my family, enjoying a ten-year-old video game, or playing drums or piano.