The dispute might be about Facebook games, but there's nothing casual about the lawsuit Electronic Arts just filed. EA has filed against social game maker Zynga, alleging that the "....ville" creator has lifted The Sims Social's design choices, animations, visual arrangements and character motions and actions and put them in The Ville. According to EA, the similarities between the two games are unmistakable.
"The similarities go well beyond any superficial resemblance," writes Lucy Bradshaw, general manager at EA's Maxis. "The copying was so comprehensive that the two games are largely indistinguishable to an uninitiated observer."
Zynga has responded with a statement, saying:
"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. Nonetheless, we plan to defend our rights to the fullest extent possible and intend to win with players.
You can check out all of EA's complaint right here. It's a pretty interesting reading. The suit goes into detail about other companies that have alleged that Zynga ripped off their content, and contains a ton of side-by-side comparison pictures between Zynga games and EA and other companies' games.
Interestingly, Zynga filed a suit against Vostu, claiming that the Brazillian developer's MegaCity is "virtually identical to Zynga’s games to prospective players in the United States and elsewhere.”