Electronic Arts has filed a suit against Zynga. EA claims that Zynga has copied the design of its Sims franchise for the Facebook game The Ville. EA says that Zynga intentionally copied ideas from The Sims Social, a game that is on Facebook. The Sims Social was released in August 2011, while The Ville came out in June 2012.
"This is a case of principle," says EA Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw. "Maxis isn't the first studio to claim that Zynga copied its creative product. But we are the studio that has the financial and corporate resources to stand up and do something about it. Infringing a developer's copyright is not an acceptable practice in game development."
Reggie Davis, Zynga general counsel, provided the following statement to Gamasutra. "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."