Maxis General Manager Lucy Bradshaw posted on the news section of the EA website that EA has filed a lawsuit against Zynga earlier today. EA is filing suit on behalf of Maxis over alleged copyright infringements found in their Facebook game The Ville. Bradshaw writes that “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.“.
But that isn’t the only reason to go after Zynga. “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.” says Bradshaw.
Personally I feel that EA and Maxis have a case here. The Sims Social and The Ville are very visually similar with some character clothing options looking to be directly ripped from EA’s game. It’s not hard to imagine someone not that into gaming to get them mixed up or even think of them as the very same game. I’m interested in knowing how this will play out as, like noted, Zynga has taken other deveolpers ideas and iterated on them before (such as Zynga’s Dream Heights bearing a striking resemblance to Nimbleit’s highly popular iOS game Tiny Tower).
The EA v Zynga complaint can be found here
Source: EA’s News ‘The Beat’ – http://www.ea.com/news/eamaxis-sue-zynga-for-copyright-infringement