Electronic Arts has filed a lawsuit against Zynga "on behalf of Maxis." EA claims that Zynga's newly released social game, The Ville, copies "original and distinctive expressive elements of The Sims Social in a clear violation of the US copyright laws."
"The similarities go well beyond any superficial resemblance," Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw argues. "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."
In a blog post on EA's official website, Bradshaw admits that EA is not the first company to accuse Zynga of copying. A few months ago, the developers of Tiny Tower publicly lamented Zynga's Dream Heights. "But we are the studio that has the financial and corporate resources to stand up and do something about it."
"Some will say The Ville simply iterates; some will tell us to get over it and move on. We are confident in our position, and that we will prevail," Bradshaw concludes. Oddly, our review of SimCity Social points out that EA and Maxis' take on city building feels a lot like Zynga's CityVille game.
Zynga is currently embroiled in yet another lawsuit, one filed on behalf of shareholders accusing the company of insider trading. Zynga general counsel Reggie Davis provided this statement to Shacknews, where the similarities between SimCity Social and CityVille are also pointed out:
We are committed to creating the most fun, innovative, social and engaging games in every major genre that our players enjoy. 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.