PAWTUCKET – Toy and game maker Hasbro Inc., has forced a team of independent game developers to shut down their “My Little Pony” multiplayer online game by issuing a cease-and-desist notice, the developers said in a blog posting.
My Little Pony toys are plastic ponies with long manes and tails, mainly marketed towards young girls, which have earned a cult following well outside its target age group.
When the game developers received the notice from Hasbro, they said they “initially dismissed this as it was most likely submitted by some trolls,” the developers said, adding that they soon found the complaint was “very real.”
According to the game developers, under U.S. trademark law, Hasbro has to defend its trademarks or risk losing them. “They had no choice in the matter, regardless of what they thought of the project or how it benefited them,” developers said in the blog posting.
The developers found no way to work around the trademark issue and suspended further development of the game. They also the link through which players could download it, they said.
According to their website, the developers have reorganized themselves as Starlight Studios and are working on a new pony-related project. They plan for the new product to be ready for Bronycon: the annual convention of My Little Pony Fans scheduled to be held in Baltimore in August 2013.
This article was written with assistance from Bloomberg News.