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back to article EA sues Zynga over ripping off Sims Social

Electronic Arts has launched a legal crusade against troubled online games company Zynga, claiming that The Ville is a direct rip-off of the game Sims Social by EA subsidiary Maxis. "This is a case of principle. Maxis isn't the first studio to claim that Zynga copied its creative product. But we are the studio that has the …

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Anonymous Coward

Zynga

As much as I don't care about/mildy dislike this company, "borrowing ideas" is not something new in gaming. It seems to me that Zynga got into the "people simulator" genre.

I mean, how many FPS games exist? Should everybody pay to the creator of the first one (Wolfenstein?) ?

Or flight simulators? Or RPGs? They are all so similar... As long as the code was not stolen per se, I don't see how EA has a case...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Zynga

I haven't played these games myself but from what I've been told Zynga haven't just created games in the same genre as their competitors with similar features (because they're common to that genre). What they've done is create games with similar names to that of their competitors, that also have near identical game play mechanics, near pixel perfect copies of interfaces and art styles that are so slavishly 'inspired by' their competitors that you'd be forgiven for thinking the were created by the same design team.

There's a fine line between inspiration and plagiarism and I suspect Zynga have crossed it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Zynga @ 3rd August 2012 20:57 GMT

you misunderstand, let me give you an example:

while CoD and MoH are both FPS, they are both different. They use their own different maps, their own character designs, their very own and very different single player campaign story. Also, basing your game on a real world concept can't be limited to the first person who does it. As long as the developer license the use the weapons design, they can go ahead and make their game.

while Skyrim and Dragon Age are both RPGs, they have different story and different worlds. Some RPGs allow you to go as a team with other players, some only allow you to have minions and others will only let your avatar go solo. No one can mistake Skyrim and Dragon Age as being copies of each other.

in this case though, it is not the matter of Zynga using the same concept as another game to make their own. But it is the out right copy of the existing game that is a problem. As another commenter have pointed out, if you view the 2 games you won't be faulted for thinking that they were made by the same people.

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Re: Zynga @ 3rd August 2012 20:57 GMT

Also, if you have a look at the filing it's full of hilarious things like Zynga using the same RGB values as the Sims game for all the characters' skin tones.

Zynga don't jump on genre bandwagons, they wholesale rip off entire games, down to the order that options appear in the menus, the interface design, and getting their sprites to look as close as possible to the inevitably better indie game that they're ripping off. They deserve to be bankrupted entirely and hopefully this will do it!

Never thought I'd say this but COME ON EA

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Re: Zynga

"There's a fine line between inspiration and plagiarism and I suspect Zynga have crossed it."

Indeed. A good rule of thumb is that if amoral leeches like EA are able to claim the moral high ground against you then you've *really* fucked up.

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Silver badge

Re: Zynga

I haven't played either of the games listed in the dispute, but I doubt the accuracy of what you've been told. Zynga re-uses their graphics and game mechanics across their various titles. Cityville uses the Farmville graphics and mechanics for its farming section, likewise with CastleVille. Vampites Wars and Mafia Wars used similar metaphors and similar graphics. Ditto their pirate game whose name I now forget.

If what you said is true, that would also mean that all the competitors also had pixel for pixel copies and perfect copies of the game mechanisms.

And honestly, given that I just quit playing Cityville because of game mechanics problems, I doubt they've "perfectly copied" that, because surely at least one competitor has a mechanic that works.

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Silver badge

Re: Zynga @ 3rd August 2012 20:57 GMT

The Zynga games I've played all pretty much look like each other, particularly with their annoying grid concept. If what you wrote were true, they'd all look different.

Doesn't mean they aren't a lower life form, just that you're slagging off about something you don't know anything about because its the in thing to do today.

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Meh

They may very well have a claim here, if they do it could be the end of Zynga and the beginning of the end for Facebook.

But

How far can you go to say a game has been copied,modes that mean all FPS are in the frame, maybe COD or anything you need to use a keyboard for?

We shall see an I hope this doesn't lead to numerous Apple v Samsung style copyright cases. It is not good for the gaming industry.

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Trollface

"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,"

Yeah - no rounded rectangles involved....

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Silver badge

"Just copy what they do and do it until you get their numbers."

Hmm, what lovely people. Possible copyright theft to add to the possible insider trading scandal we saw here:

http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2012/07/28/zynga_share_sales_investigation/

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Go

Re: "Just copy what they do and do it until you get their numbers."

The rest of the week will have a hard time making a better QotW than that!

This Monday is off to a good start.

"You're not smarter than your competitor. Just copy what they do and do it until you get their numbers."

I'm sure many company heads have said similar, but to see it in the news is mildly amusing for sure.

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Happy

Woah... mind bending time... it's like rooting for Genghis Khan and his horde of murderous bastards.... because they are fighting Hitler and his horde of murderous bastards...

Yeah both sides are evil monsters, but hey, one is so much worse then the other!

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Thumb Up

Couldn't have put it better.

On a positive note, it's nice to see the courts being used in sensible ways for a change. More than half the legal battles reported on The Register leave you wondering if putting the two people in a padded room and leaving them to it wouldn't be a better option, and certainly waste less money.

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Not the first EA game copied

This isnt the first act of EA game cloning on Zynga's part

A few years ago Zynga released a short lived game called Rollercoaster Kingdom which was a direct cut down copy of the old PC/Amiga game Theme Park, even the graphics were near identical with customers arriving on a bus etc.

The game was actually quite playable until Zynga started adding hooks into the gameto try and monitize it, that was when user levels dropped and it met the axe some months later.

Now that EA actually have a presence on facebook and Zynga has a far higher profile EA seems to bekeeping a closer eye on what Zynga are up to.

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Stop

Pot / Kettle / Black?

"But we are the studio that has the financial and corporate resources to stand up and do something about it,""

Ha! Am I the only one seeing the irony here? Copying the Sims? Sims is people management? How many ideas are in the sims from them park / theme hospital / rollercoaster tycoon / other management games?

Software. Patents. Are. Bad. Simples.

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FAIL

@geejayoh History...Learn it

The Sims was created by Maxis, also responsible for SimCity, SimAnt, SimEarth, SimTown, SimGolf and so on and so on.

Theme Park was created by BullFrog Productions, who also created Theme Hospital, Theme Aquarium, Theme Park World and Theme Park Inc.

Both of these studios have been taken over by Electronic Arts, and the portfolios which go with them.

Rollercoaster Tycoon was made by Microprose after BullFrog made Theme Park, but was different enough that they let them co-exist.

Plus there is a difference from making two different games about the same thing, and slavishly stealing someone else's product and changing it very slightly.

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Ru
Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: Pot / Kettle / Black?

"Software. Patents. Are. Bad. Simples."

No. Software. Patents. Are. Involved. Simples. This is about copyright; the two are vastly different.

I note that of the 3 games/franchises you listed there, 2 two are EA properties. They've been doing this for a long time, and are entirely within their rights to pillage their old portfolio. The end result might be crap, but that's not the point, is it?

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Re: Pot / Kettle / Black?

"Software. Patents. Are. Bad. Simples."

Whenever I see someone end a statement with "simples", it nearly always means they've just said something that shows a total lack of understanding of what's being discussed. Why is that?

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Nothing new here

Super Mario Brothers vs Great Giana Sisters - The original game ripoff ?

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Unhappy

Not really, you couldn't buy extra mushrooms in those games...

EA might propose they're doing this for the good of those lesser developers who they've yet to buy out, this is all to do with missing out on ingame purchase profits.

Ban ingame money shite and the whole internet would probably improve. And world peace may even ensue.

Honestly.

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I'm pretty sure that honour goes to the plethora of Pong clones however Giana draws a better parallel with this story due to Nintendo's legal action at the time of release.

R.I.P. Armin Gessert

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For anyone thinking this is a bad thing...

..here's a good example of how Zynga are not just guilty of the normal genre bandwagon jumping that is rife in the games industry.

http://media1.gameinformer.com/imagefeed/featured/indie/tinytower/tinytower0125-610b.jpg

Tiny Towers is the original indie game, Dream Heights is the later released Zynga version.

Zynga deserve everything they get.

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Silver badge
Devil

St Steve must be rolling in his urn...

... for not having said this sentence himself: "You're not smarter than your competitor. Just copy what they do and do it until you get their numbers."

;-)

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Is any of that actually illegal?

Is any of that illegal? Also all the similar cases I've read about involved patents not copyright.

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Ru
Silver badge

Re: Is any of that actually illegal?

It is technically illegal, but making it stick is bloody hard. Patents allow for a rather different line of attack and one which is much easier to use.

In this case however, EA has been in the sim-business for a long time and has a fair chunk of cash behind it. More importantly, Zynga seem to be pretty blatant in their rippings-off, so they'll probably be a victim of their own laziness.

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Bronze badge

Stock price

They played Face Book for their stock drop. Do you think things like this might have some thing to do with it ?

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Couldn't happen to two nicer companies

Couldn't happen to two nicer companies, but I said that already...

But if I had to back one, it'd be EA. Zynga have never done anything that's not essentially evil.

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FAIL

Copying is ok ONLY for Zynga

Don't forget that Zynga doesn't like when other companies base their games on Zynga products. When Vostu used the same strategy as Zynga for game "innovation" Zynga decided it was "a violation of the law."

http://techcrunch.com/2011/06/16/war-zynga-sues-the-hell-out-of-brazilian-clone-vostu/

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Give Zynga a break

Come on, not all Zynga's games are plagiarised.

Take "Words With Friends" for example. A very popular and highly original concept.

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Silver badge

I saw my niece playing this rip off and commented that it looked like Sims.

Her response was "what's Sims?"

Seems the more time that teens spend on farcebook the more they use just one platform.

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