Just when you thought Zynga couldn’t get more sued into oblivion than they already are, EA has stepped in to kick ‘em when they’re down, filing a lawsuit alleging that the soon-to-be dead social games developer is in violation of copyright with their recently-announced The Ville.
The suit claims that The Ville heavily rips off EA’s The Sims Social. That’s pretty damn hilarious when you realize that one of EA’s other brower-based casual games, Sim City Social, is itself nearly identical to Zynga’s CityVille. We’ll see if that comes up during court proceedings. I wonder, would it be possible for BOTH sides to lose? I can dream.
EA’s own plagiarisms aside, they’ve provided a long list of complaints against The Ville, and while some of them are a stretch (human avatars having the same bodily functions in different games is an issue? Really?), enough things look similar enough that they might have a case, though this is probably more due to utter lack of creativity on Zynga’s side than an active attempt at aping EA’s game.
This compounded with Zynga’s ongoing insider trading investigations pretty clearly spell doom for the company. While this is hardly the first time Zynga has been accused of copying another company’s game, EA is the first company large enough to do something about it.
All this trouble over some crappy Facebook games.
UPDATE: Zynga has come back at EA with a response to their accusations:
“We are committed to creating the most fun, innovative, social and engaging games in every major genre that our players enjoy,” Zynga claimed in a statement. “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.”
In response to that response, EA’s John Reseburg had this to say:
“They must be distracted right now; otherwise they would have noticed we have been shipping SimCity games since the 1990s.”
Oh snap! I do believe that man deserves a high five.