If you saw Zynga introduce their latest game, “The Ville”, last month you may have reacted the same as me, by saying, “Are you F***ing kiding me?? That’s the Sims” or something similar with a certain degree of vulgarity. Well it seems as though Electronics Arts, the owner of the mega-popular Sims franchise, couldn’t agree more and has decided to file suit against Zynga. EA has already released a statement on the matter:
“The similarities go well beyond any superficial resemblance. 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. Scores of media and bloggers commented on the blatant mimicry.”
- Lucy Bradshaw, GM of EA Maxis
If you’ve seen the game that EA’s referencing, The Sims Social, a variation of the PC game series that has been made for Facebook, you’ll notice the extreme similarities, not only in the art style but in game play and in design as well. EA’s suit claims that Zynga “copied and misappropriated the original and distinctive expressive elements of The Sims Social in a violation of U.S. copyright laws.”
This isn’t the first time Zynga’s been in hot water for supposedly stealing another company’s premise for a game. NimbleBits, creators of the game Tiny Tower, which was game of the year for the iPhone, claimed that Zynga stole their concept, design and gameplay when they made Dream Heights. We even covered a story, after the fact, that when you pull up file information on Dream Heights—from within the iPhone—the game was originally called Towerville, but it seems that Zynga decide to avoid the use of the word “Tower” before the games release. To make matters worse for Zynga, an anonymous tip pointed out, exclusively to us, that in the code of the game, Zynga referred to the game’s characters as “Zitizens” which again is way to similar to Bitizens, which is what Nimblebits called their characters well before Dream Heights ever hit the app market.
Zynga has a history of taking games created by others and adding their own little spin on them, like Scramble with Friends, which is essentially Boggle and Words with Friends is just an online version of Hasbro’s Scrabble, and so on. This time however, they decide to steal from the 800lbs gorilla and unfortunately for them, they woke it up. After a pathetic second quarter earnings report which resulted in Zynga’s stock plummeting, this will not help things and if EA is successful—which I believe they will be—investors may have more to complain about then just poor earnings.
Source: The Verge