By Michael Blain
Wouldn’t you think that Zynga making games that are primarily based around social aspects and interaction could mean they had freedom to make whatever they want and designed from the ground up? You would be wrong, because even though many companies have recreated different versions of games, some of which have been around for hundreds of years, Electronic Arts seems to think they can sue over a concept of a game in general.
From USA Today’s online site: “According to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in California, EA alleges Zynga’s new Facebook game The Ville is an “unmistakable copy” of The Sims Social. “The similarities go well beyond any superficial resemblance,” says Lucy Bradshaw, general manager of EA’s Maxis label, the creators of The Sims Social. “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 goes on to say, “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.”
The laughable part of this statement is that she claims Electronic Arts has a desire to protect smaller creative studies that cannot financially protect themselves, which EA has clearly demonstrated in the past that they only have a will to crush. EA built it’s dynasty on sports games, plain and simple. A sports video game was not an original creative concept that EA came up with on their own by any means; they were just refining an already existent genre. They made other games too, but they had typically paled in comparison to their sporting titles and the major market video game offerings in general.
EA is trying to sue Zynga over the same idea that has been pushing video games forward since their creation. When iD software created the game Doom, a slew of other
games came out on the personal computer platform that were so indistinguishably based off their game that they were referred to as Doom-clones. They didn’t sue anyone because they knew that not only is imitation the highest form of flattery, but the clones could have included subtle improvements and tweaks that could help in their own future game design. EA stands for Electronic Arts, and if you don’t believe that art should be created for everyone to share than you shouldn’t have started making video games in the first place.