EA Files Lawsuit Against Zynga Over ‘The Ville’ – History of Zynga’s Copyright Infringements

Electronic Arts has filed a lawsuit claiming that Zynga’s Facebook game titled ‘The Ville’ is actually copied off their own Facebook game ‘The Sims Social’.

In the past Zynga has been known to copy off ideas from other publishers and incorporating it into their many Facebook games. EA on the other hand couldn’t have picked a better time to file this lawsuit.

The once proud and mighty Zynga corporation is seeing dark days these past few months. This latest lawsuit from EA comes at a time when Zynga is immensely vulnerable.

It’s stocks have seen to a gradual decline this past year and it’s last quarter results were very poor ending in the scrapping of their head of game development. On top of all of that Zynga is currently facing a lawsuit which alleges executives knew of an impending crash that prompted them to sell in excess of $500 million in stock earlier this year.

Lucy Bradshaw, general manager of Maxis (developer of The Sims) stressed on the fact that their Sims Social was released in 2011 while The Ville came in June of 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.

She also highlighted the fact that this is not the first time Zynga has done something so unprincipled. Here are a few cases registered against Zynga for copyright infringement:

  • Dream Heights, an iOS game allegedly stole ideas from Tiny Tower.
  • FarmVille was an exact duplicate of Farm Town.
  • Mafia Wars was an exact replica of Mob Wars.
  • Zynga Bingo took many ideas from Bingo Blitz.

Previously it was said in a humorous fashion that Zynga’s business model is to copy off whatever is popular in the current market. Has Zynga’s time finally come?