Electronic Arts has filed a copyright infringement suit against Zynga, alleging that the social gaming company's "The Ville" misappropriated EA's "The Sims Social" game.
In a blog post explaining the lawsuit, Lucy Bradshaw, head of the studio that created "Sims Social," outlined why EA contends that Zynga "ripped off" its intellectual property. EA launched its "Sims Social" game on Facebook in August 2011. Zynga released "The Ville" 10 months later.
"When 'The Ville' was introduced in June 2012, the infringement of 'The Sims Social' was unmistakable to those of us at Maxis as well as to players and the industry at large," Bradshaw wrote. "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."
The full lawsuit is available here.
"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," said Zynga’s general counsel, Reggie Davis, in a statement. "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."
The San Francisco social gaming giant has had to contend with similar lawsuits in the past involving a number of titles. The creator of "Mob Wars," a popular social game on Facebook, sued the company in 2009 claiming Zynga's "Mafia Wars" was a knockoff. Zynga settled the lawsuit that same year for an undisclosed amount.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Co.'s interactive game division, Learning Co., in May 2011 also sued, contending that Zynga's "FrontierVille" game was blatantly similar to Houghton's "Oregon Trail" game franchise.
Bradshaw noted that EA is just the latest to file against Zynga.
"This is a case of principle," Bradshaw wrote. "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."
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