EA is taking Facebook game overlord Zynga to court, claiming that Zynga’s new Facebook game The Ville is a straight rip-off of EA’s The Sims Social.
The complaint claims that Zynga intentionally “copied and misappropriated the original and distinctive expressive elements of The Sims Social in a violation of U.S. copyright laws,” explaining that “The Ville was not an attempt to innovate on a game concept – it was an intentional effort to copy EA’s creative work.”
EA/Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw explained, “Zynga’s design choices, animations, visual arrangements and character motions and actions have been directly lifted from The Sims Social. The copying was so comprehensive that the two games are, to an uninitiated observer, largely indistinguishable.”
Bradshaw insinuated that Zynga is in the habit of copying ideas, but that many simply do not have the resources to face the juggernaut in court.
“This is a case of principle. Maxis isn’t the first studio to claim that Zynga copied its creative product. But we are the studio that has the financial and corporate resources to stand up and do something about it. Infringing a developer’s copyright is not an acceptable practice in game development. By calling Zynga out on this illegal practice, we hope to have a secondary effect of protecting the rights of other creative studios who don’t have the resources to protect themselves.”
Zynga general counsel Reggie Davis had this rebuttal:
“We are committed to creating the most fun, innovative, social and engaging games in every major genre that our players enjoy. The Ville is the newest game in our ‘ville’ franchise – it builds on every major innovation from our existing invest-and-express games dating back to YoVille and continuing through CityVille and CastleVille, and introduces a number of new social features and game mechanics not seen in social games today.”
“It’s unfortunate that EA thought that this was an appropriate response to our game, and clearly demonstrates a lack of understanding of basic copyright principles. It’s also ironic that EA brings this suit shortly after launching SimCity Social which bears an uncanny resemblance to Zynga’s CityVille game.”
Oh, snap. EA can’t be happy with The Ville’s 40.3 million players to Sims Social’s 16.5 million, especially considering EA’s offering was hitting numbers of a monthly 66 million last year.
EA has even gone so far as to post “evidence” onto Youtube, check it out:
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