It’s a sad day my fellow Killer Instinct fans. A sad day indeed. On September 17th, our hopes for a new Killer Instinct had arisen to new unprecedented levels when Microsoft themselves announced that they were renewing the trademark for the Killer Instinct franchise. Today, I regret to inform you that Microsoft has been denied the trademark due to none other than Fox Entertainment currently owning it when they legally acquired it years ago for some lame ass Killer Instinct television show (completely unrelated to the game) that didn’t even last a full season. One step forward, two steps backward, right?
Now you may be asking, “What does a television show have to do with the video game?” Well you see, they both fall under the ‘Entertainment Category’ and the trademark office ruled that Microsoft’s Killer Instinct filing could in some way cause confusion, leading people to think the game would be in relation to the show. If you’re also wondering how Fox got the trademark in the first place, it’s because Microsoft never renewed after its expiration, so Fox swooped in and snatched it up.
All hope is not lost, however, as there a few things that could happen to allow Microsoft to still secure the name: A) They have six months to convince a judge that the game would not conflict with the television show; B) Work out an agreement of sorts with Fox; and C) Fox’s Killer Instinct trademark is set to expire next year, so if they choose not to renew it, then that opens up the door for Microsoft to take ownership. It’s all a lot of “hope” scenarios though so anything could happen here.
Of course, if worse comes to worse, the name of the game could always be changed, but I don’t see that panning out very well for sales. Familiarity with specific terms, especially in an established franchise, really helps to propel sales. Perhaps something as simple as calling it just ‘KI’ would suffice, but it still wouldn’t be quite the same. Regardless of, let’s all just keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best out of this. Microsoft’s announcement a few months ago seemed to indicate a new Killer Instinct was in development, so I only pray it doesn’t end up canceled over this!