EA has sued social gaming giant Zynga for copyright infringement over Zynga's game, The Ville.
According to a complaint filed earlier today, EA believes Zynga's The Ville has "willfully and intentionally copied and misappropriated the original and distinctive expressive elements of The Sims Social in a violation of U.S. copyright laws."
"Zynga's The Ville, released on June 26, 2012, is an unmistakable copy of EA's The Sims Social. Not only does The Ville blatantly mimic the entire framework and style of gameplay in The Sims Social, but it so closely copies the original, creative expression and unique elements of The Sims Social - i.e., the animation sequences, visual arrangements, characters' motions and actions, and other unique audio-visual elements - that the two games are nearly indistinguishable."
"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. 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."
"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. Today, we hope to be taking a stand that helps the industry protect the value of original creative works and those that work tirelessly to create them." - EA Complaint
The Ville was announced earlier this year in June and allows players to build a house and career, customise character appearances and pave a career and life for themselves. EA believes that the general idea and similarities blatantly copies The Sims Social, which launched over a year earlier in August 2011.
A few hours after the complaint was filed, Zynga replied to both IGN and Gamasutra about the lawsuit.
"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." - Reggie Davis, general counsel of Zynga
To read the original court filing, click here. Take a look at the video below, which was one of six used by EA as video evidence, which shows the similarities between the two games.
What do you think of the lawsuit? Do you think the similarities are too close for comfort for Zynga?
By Nathan Misa