Update: EA taking Zynga to court over The Ville

Electronic Arts today announced it’s filing a copyright infringement lawsuit against social game giant Zynga.

The suit alleges when Zynga launched The Ville, it ”copied and misappropriated the original and distinctive expressive elements of The Sims Social in a violation of U.S. copyright laws.”

The Sims Social launched in August 2011 and had peak traffic levels of 11.3 million daily active users. When Zynga announced The Ville during its Zynga Unleashed event, comparisons between the two games were immediate. Since then, the game’s become the top game on Facebook by monthly active users and the No. 2 game by daily active users.

Although The Ville is seeing a high amount of traffic, the game’s launch doesn’t seem to have noticeably affected The Sims Social’s traffic, even after Zynga turned on cross-promotion in late July. Our AppData traffic-tracking service shows the latter’s MAU numbers are continuing to increase, though DAU is down from 3.2 million to 2.9 million.

Lucy Bradshaw, GM of EA’s Maxis Label, wrote about the lawsuit in a blog post on EA’s site, claiming, “[The Ville's] similarities go well beyond any superficial resemblance. Zynga’s design choices, animations, visual arrangments and character motions and actions have been directly lifted from The Sims Social.”

EA claims that by calling Zynga out for this practice of cloning games, it’s also protecting the rights of other (smaller) studios who don’t have the resources to protect their assets.

Update: Zynga has responded to the lawsuit. Zynga’s General Counsel Reggie Davis released the following statement: “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.”

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5 Responses to “Update: EA taking Zynga to court over The Ville”

  1. Electronic Arts sues Zynga, says it copied "The Sims Social" – Reuters | Headline News Network says:

    [...] Arts sues Zynga over game copyrightsMarketWatchKotaku -Inside Social Gamesall 38 news [...]

  2. #oneaday Day 928: Begun, The Clone Wars Have | I'm Not Doctor Who says:

    [...] EA has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Zynga. The reason? The uncanny resemblance between Zynga’s latest “invest-and-express” game (their term, not mine) The Ville and The Sims Social. I won’t cover the case in detail because my friend and colleague Mr Mike Thompson has already done a fine job of doing so over at Inside Social Games. [...]

  3. No, EA, you are not “standing up for the industry” by suing Zynga says:

    [...] this week Electronic Arts COO Peter Moore talked to Eurogamer about his company’s lawsuit against Zynga over The Ville. One of Moore’s biggest points — which has made a lot of [...]

  4. Zynga responds to The Ville copyright lawsuit, accuses EA of violating anti-trust laws says:

    [...] today has officially responded to last month’s lawsuit from Electronic Arts over The Ville. Until now, Zynga’s been relatively quiet about the [...]

  5. Breaking: EA and Zynga reach settlement in lawsuit surrounding The Ville says:

    [...] lawsuit was originally filed against Zynga by EA in August 2012. Earlier that summer, Zynga had launched its lifestyle sim game, The Ville, and garnered criticism [...]

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