EA sues Zynga, claims The Ville is a Sims Social clone

Publisher alleges social giant's game is an "unmistakable copy" of its own Sims-branded free-to-play spin-off.

Zynga has been accused of copying other companies' games before, but never by an outfit this big. Electronic Arts today announced that it has filed suit against Zynga, alleging that the latter company's The Ville is so close to EA's own Sims Social that it represents an act of copyright infringement.

The Sims Social.

EA Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw explained the suit in a statement, saying, "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."

Bradshaw went on to say that the case is a matter of principle, and that EA was obligated to bring the suit because unlike many other operations that have alleged theft at Zynga's hands, her company "has the financial and corporate resources to stand up and do something about it." The full text of the complaint was posted online by Kotaku.

The Ville.

"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," Bradshaw said.

A statement provided to GameSpot sister site Giant Bomb from Zynga general counsel Reggie Davis said The Ville is based innovations from Zynga's Ville franchise. "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," Davis said. "It’s also ironic that EA brings this suit shortly after launching SimCity Social which bears an uncanny resemblance to Zynga’s CityVille game."

Written By

Want the latest news about The Sims Social?

The Sims Social

The Sims Social

Follow

Discussion

304 comments
GothikaGeist
GothikaGeist

You guys need to wrap your heads around the difference between SIMILAR GAMES that share gameplay mechanics or genres, and COPIES that share much more than that. The EA representative clearly states that Zynga's game has uncanny similarities across all of it's game's assets. They have similar art-style, similar animations, even similar UI. I don't like what EA does or how they operate, but I know they are right in doing this. And for the record, EA's Skate is not a rip-off of Tony Hawk, not in any way shape or form. And besides, Tony Hawk was sitting on a monopoly, it's about time they had some competition.

Laveidem
Laveidem

In my opinion EA is right to sue Zynga, if you read the article "How Zynga cloned its way to success" there's a line that sums it all up;  "I don't want innovation," he said. "You're not smarter than your competitor. Just copy what they do and do it until you get their numbers." Boom case closed gtfo Zynga you're not a true game company you're just trying to cash in on other companies' success. On a side note people may not like EA because it's trying to take over other companies or genres or whatever, but that's a fundamental of business, you try to get rid of your competitors so that you're top-dog. Get used to it. 

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

In light of these events, perhaps Zynga should stop it's Facebook advertising.

 

Just seen: "Sims dragging you down? Fun lives here. Play THE VILLE."

 

From now on let's call that advert Exhibit C

o016945
o016945

EA isn't suing Zynga because of any integrity reasons. EA doesn't care about the similarity of the games. Nope, just like the many shady business practices they've accomplished in the past, this is just another one. They're simply suing to give Zynga more negative press. They are hitting the company while they are already taking big hits. This is an effective way to attempt to ruin Zynga even more. This way, EA can then capitalize on their market, and then possibly own it. All of the EA apologists out there, you're asking for this. To those who think I'm grasping at straws, EA's pulled a shitload of these stunts before.

moonlightwolf01
moonlightwolf01

EA are opening up a can of worms here. Zynga might be copying scumbags but as Zynga pointed out SimCity Social looks a lot like CityVille so EA might well find Zynga suing them right back. The Games industry is largely based on a fairly small set of mechanics that have been proven to work well. Innovation comes in the little things. Unless zynga have stolen assets from the game EA are fighting a suite based on mechanics and if they win, well it might be kind of funny to see if id software can sue every other creator of first person shooter games for stealing their mechanics. I kind of wish both parties could lose 

Mega_Skrull
Mega_Skrull

Awww, one of those fights I wish could be lost by both parts :3

Maybe they can keep copying and sueing each other until they both collapse in a black hole of **** or something...

10V3n0M01
10V3n0M01

Honestly, Zynga have some balls, or their greed is too strong. I walked past someone playing this and I asked, "Oh, is this the new Sims game?". I was pretty shocked when she said no. It's a blatant rip-off and anyone who has played the original Sims games can see that. 

I've never played a Zynga game, never will but doing such an injustice voids any respect for a company. In this case I'd like to see Zynga burn anyway.

So go EA! And die Zynga, DIE!

I love corporate p1ssing contests.

 

P.S. Hopefully EA will deface themselves by doing something greedy(like always) and then they will get a beat-down too. Then it's a win win.

 

Mega_Loser
Mega_Loser

i'd like to point out that this isn't the first time zynga has been sued for copying other peoples' work, which seems to be their only development strategy.

you could do a search in your fav search engine for "How Zynga cloned its way to success".

you can also search for "Mark Pincus Says It's Smart To Be A Copycat".

damodar_thade
damodar_thade

Most games are a clone of another game and EA just noticed this and don't they do the exact same thing? Some people should not have access to legal representation ever.

Peazo
Peazo

Great news,  one doll house simulator in the world is more than enough. 

Booshon
Booshon

Never played Zynga games.

I have an idea EA should buy Zynga too

vault-boy
vault-boy

Ya, you show them EA! You are such a good company that never clones what other companies are doing, you make new and innovative games like Battlefield, Skate and Need For Speed, none of which had games exactly like them before they came out! You are such a moral company who cares about the customer you deserve to sue a company that doesn't do the same bullshit you do.

 

Obviously I was being sarcastic, in case you didn't know. Zynga copies other developers games, sure but so does EA. Two rights don't make a wrong but you can't get pissed at someone who's a thief just because they broke into your house full of shit you've stolen.

YIGIF
YIGIF

LOL, EA needs to be sued by their players for The Sims period. The game wouldn't have lasted this long if it wasn't for the modding community. Zynga are definitely thieves (Vor V Zakone probably), and how stupid can you be to steal from The Sims universe if your not going to make a better clone. Yeah, it will be scrutinized by all walks of gaming life but if its better and differs in some ways, especially cosmetically, then its worthy. Otherwise, it's a pointless waste of time and resources.

Spyre1984
Spyre1984

This is the most amazing thing I've heard....

 

Go jump off a bridge EA.

Dr_Corndog
Dr_Corndog

Well, duh. Every game Zynga makes is a rip-off of someone else's.

JJMikhail
JJMikhail

I think one will find this has nothing to do with "looks the same" comparison, if the game engine and functionality turns out to be the same then for me EA shouldn't have to worry, in the end if their game ends up being more buggy than theirs then they've lost automatically.

 

There is always a chance that things looks simliar, just look at what Apple are trying to do with Samsung and Google, in the end if they look the same or not if the consumer buys the product and likes it then it just means EA and Apple have to work a bit more harder.

DaWarthog
DaWarthog

@wizardboyus Who cares about what he said? I didn't waste my time reading all that mess. All I cared about was the point he was trying to make. I agree he could've went about it better but nobody is bending your wrist. Sign it or move on, this is not rocket science.

Hurvl
Hurvl

"the case is a matter of principle" Or money. Or the stupid law that makes companies paranoid bastards, because it says that copyright owners must take action against potential copyright infringement or otherwise lose the protection of their IP. That has led to companies taking a  "sue and ask questions later" policy, just to be safe. It's the same mechanism that causes journalists to self censor themselves to avoid getting into trouble (in less democratic countries) - because they can't be sure that not doing so wouldn't do any harm. Fear rules supreme and (only?) the lawyers rejoice.

Lawlegez
Lawlegez

 @Laveidem I'd rather play Zynga then EA considering most games from them are low or no cost. Then theres EA which bends you over backwards in paying for the game DLC's and all that other junk. Out of these 2 companies EA needs to be taken down a peg.

 

MrDouglas
MrDouglas

 @PixelAddict

 On the other hand, EA runs with "More City, less Ville" regarding their CityVille-clone/carbon copy-game SimCity Social, so the two are on very similar (shaky) ground :)

TheRawrMonster
TheRawrMonster

 @o016945 I'm sorry, but I can't really see why anyone would support Zynga in this law suit.

Zynga represents all that is wrong with the games industry.  Sure, EA isn't an angel by any means, but to say that EA is doing this sheerly to help their own bottom line is assinine.

TheRawrMonster
TheRawrMonster

 @moonlightwolf01 Are you SERIOUS?

SimCity has been around since 1989.

Zynga (the entire company) has only been around since 2007.

To say that EA copied Cityville while making a spinoff of an existing IP is, pardon my french... "fucking retarded".

swallow1106
swallow1106

 @Mega_Skrull The true winner... Legal department of both company.  They pretend to sue each other to ensure job security even though they know it will end up being a moo point.  But hey, if the case drag on for 12 months that's 12 months no one from legal department will get laid off. 

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

 @damodar_thade There is a large difference between copyright infringement and inspiration. For instance, Homefront may be clearly made in the Vein of Call of Duty, in spirit and in pacing, but the actual assets, the story, the levels, the atmosphere, and so on are clearly different. This is an instance in which almost every aspect of the game is alleged to be copied. No one could reasonably mistake Homefront for Modern Warfare--but many people could conceivably mistake Zynga's game for EA's. 

TheRawrMonster
TheRawrMonster

 @vault-boy LOL.  Are you one of those people who sees a game with guns and screams 'OMG COD CLONE!' ?

The Battlefield series is not even remotely similar to the vast majority of shooters out there.  Need for Speed?  Really?

So all racing games are the same, huh?  Do you even know what a 'genre' is?  Because to try and say that Battlefield and NFS are copies of any other game kinda suggests you don't get the concept of a first person shooter, racing game, etc.

stan_boyd
stan_boyd

 @vault-boy Well actually skate was pretty innovative, sure it was a skateboarding game, but it was unlike any other skateboarding game that has come before it. The control setup was new and genius and instead of focusing on crazy arcady style gameplay they tried for a more realistic approach. The difference between Skate and Tony Hawk are like the difference between Gran Turismo and Mario Kart.

stan_boyd
stan_boyd

 @Dr_Corndog Nowadays every video game is a rip off of someone elses. Mass Effects combat is a rip off of gears of war which is a ripoff of killswitch. CoD is a ripoff of Wolfenstein. Starcraft is a rip off of Command and Conquer etc etc etc.

Laveidem
Laveidem

 @Lawlegez A company whose sole purpose or gameplan is to steal other people's ideas and try to bank on it shouldn't be around period. Granted many companies borrow ideas from others, but not to the extent as Zynga. They're practically stealing the game and just slapping a new name on it. And EA isn't the only company who charges for DLC's, when you like a game another 15$ or so to extend your enjoyment to me is worth it.

dave3622
dave3622

 @MrDouglas  @PixelAddict EA own the rights to the original 'Sim City' which came out before the Internet even existed, so how the hell can their online Flash update be a copy of Zynga's bug-ridden abomination? 

DraconisRex
DraconisRex

 @TheRawrMonster

 

How many other gaming companies has Zynga destroyed?   How many great gaming franchises have they destroyed>

 

The people that play Zynga do it on Facebook and what not.   They're not a threat to anyone.   They make crappy little games in social gaming market.   EA makes crappy little games in the social market.

 

In that, they're equal.   But, unlike Zynga, EA has a well earned reputation of destroying great developers and franchises.

o016945
o016945

 @TheRawrMonster lol...asinine? Seriously? EA is trying to tap into the same market as Zynga. Do you not recognize that? EA is the same company who bought out the NFL, Arena Football, NCAA, PGA, and FIFA rights. They tried to buy out 2K Sports/Take Two Interactive. They introduced online pass. They introduced the nickle and dime DLC content strategy. They attempted to buy out Ubisoft.

 

Yeah, apparently you're blind in what EA is leading for this industry. Zynga is hardly the menace that EA is.

StarkJJ
StarkJJ

 @stan_boyd You must be another blind EA fanboy.  Skate was obviously an attempt to cash in on Tony Hawk's success.  EA rarely..if ever does anything first.  They are just like Sony.  Copy copy copy.  Heck, EA was copying gameplay elements from the 2K football series just so Madden could compete.  Then they bought the license so nobody could compete.  EA is now currently "saturating" the market with FPS to cash in on Call of Duty's success.  Sony should just buy EA and get it over with...

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

 @stan_boyd Starcraft is a ripoff of Command & Conquer? Oh dear me. No. 

dave3622
dave3622

 @o016945  PS, you do realise that EA published the original Sim City game back in 1988? Perhaps you were still a twinkle in your mothers eye back then? Either way Zynga have never released a single original game, there are ALL copies of better existing games. 

dave3622
dave3622

 @o016945 Say what you want about EA, at least their games work unlike the BUG-RIDDEN SHIT Zynga keep publishing. They now have the nerve to ask for $17 a month to get in-game cash and energy in their flash based games which rarely work as they should. Zynga are a disgrace to the entire industry, no wonder nearly everybody hates them. 

TheRawrMonster
TheRawrMonster

 @o016945 Because I think that Zynga accusing ANYONE of copying their ideas is retarded?

And fuck Mitt Romney.  Obama 2012.

Dizzy1976
Dizzy1976

 @o016945 This argument has officially degraded to a 5th grade shouting match...fyi

o016945
o016945

 @mcnoob117 ...and you sound like the Fox News viewer who thinks he knows what's happening.

mcnoob117
mcnoob117

 @o016945 and you sound like the retarded voter that has no idea whats happening

DraconisRex
DraconisRex

 @TheRawrMonster

 

You know that SWTOR copied a whole lot of it's mechanics, including the skill trees and spells, from WoW? 

 

You might think you're being cleverly sarcastic.   Sadly, you're being accurate when it comes to EA's sinking flagship MMO...

TheRawrMonster
TheRawrMonster

 @StarkJJ Holy shit, just when I thought this couldn't get dumber.  Battlefield was an attempt to cash in on CoD?

Because it's SOOOOOOO similar to CoD, right?

Why don't you go on some World of Warcraft forum and cry that every MMORPG is a WoW clone.  Cause you know.... CoD invented the FPS just like WoW invented the MMO.... and it's of course impossible to have 2 games with a similar concept and yet drastically different gameplay.

Henrique2324
Henrique2324

@StarkJJ

Have you even played the damned game? Skate was much different than Tony Hawk. They switched up the formula and the new control scheme was innovative. It doesn't matter if the game already had some competition when it came out. A gaming genre is born from competition, for crying out loud. I never played Madden or any other 2K game for that matter so I can't comment on that, but then again, Skate, Battlefield and some BioWare stuff are arguably the only worthwhile games from EA, so...yeah.

stan_boyd
stan_boyd

 @StarkJJ So then was mario kart just cashing in on other racing games? Is super smash bros just cashing in on street fighter. I am not an EA fanboy, I can only think of two games of theirs I like and thats Skate and Battlefield. Was Skate trying to cash in on Tony Hawk, sure, but the games are NOTHING alike. Tony Hawk is an arcade style game. Skate attempts to be a skate boarding simulator.  Their is nothing similar other than the fact they both have skateboards. Next you are gonna try and tell me that dragon age is a final fantasy clone cause they both have swords right.

TheRawrMonster
TheRawrMonster

 @DraconisRex I'm not 'rooting for EA', I'm just rooting against idiocy.

The people who say that every shooter is CoD or every RTS is Starcraft or every racing game is NFS / Gran Turismo / Test Drive / (insert favorite racing franchise) etc. ad nauseum.... Is just idiotic.

Pardon the HELL out of me for being anti- ignorance.  So sorry to have offended you.  Kindly go back to shouting at all the 12 year olds on WoW how it invented the MMO.  I'll be here, in grownup land.

DraconisRex
DraconisRex

 @TheRawrMonster  Which was stolen from the Dune RTS.

 

 

You're not very good at this are you?   You root for EA, yet they stole SWTOR mechancis from pre-cata WoW.  Command and Conquer stole from the first RTS, Dune.   And so it goes.  

 

Only fools can't see it.  Only fools think one company should be protected in its thievery while others must be punished.

 

TheRawrMonster
TheRawrMonster

 @stan_boyd You basically just described the RTS genre....

are you now going to tell us that every RPG is Final Fantasy?  Please do... I need a good laugh.

stan_boyd
stan_boyd

 @Kevin-V Oh dear me yes, soooo many similarities, you build bases, then you build units, one time of unit is good against another type but weak to another one, you upgrade your units from certain buildings, you need to gather resources, you need a certain amount of power to keep your base funtioning etc etc etc.