Two industry giants are about to go head-to-head as Electronic Arts takes social-gaming behemoth Zynga to court over copyright infringement.
The complaint (which is documented at 50 pages long) claims that Zynga traced the design of EA’s “The Sims Social” with its June 2012 release of “The Ville”, both of which are currently playable via Facebook.
EA and the team at Maxis (The Sims, Spore) argue that not only has the core elements of the game been copied, so to have specific assets such as character animation and “visual arrangements.”
The similarities go well beyond any superficial resemblance… [It]was so comprehensive that the two games are, to an uninitiated observer, largely indistinguishable. Scores of media and bloggers commented on the blatant mimicry.
Zynga, on the other hand, claim that The Ville is nothing but a natural expansion of the insanely popular social flagship.
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. Nonetheless, we plan to defend our rights to the fullest extent possible and intend to win with players.
Similar complaints have been lodged against Zynga before, though mainly by smaller/independent outfits. With plenty of money behind the console-centric publisher, this is one legal dispute everyone should be eyeing.