Video game publisher Electronic Arts has launched a copyright infringement suit against social game creator Zynga, stating that there are similarities that are more than coincidental between The Sims Social and The Ville.
Lucy Bradshaw, who is the leader of the Maxis studio inside Electronic Arts
, told an internal company outlet that, “The legal reasons are solid. But for creative teams who feel that their hard work and imaginations have been ripped off, there’s obviously an emotional element too.”
She added, “When we launched The Sims Social in August 2011, Maxis brought the distinctive universe of our world-renowned franchise, The Sims, to Facebook. We created a game that allowed players to create Sims that can interact with the Sims of their Facebook friends. It was an instant hit, gaining tens of millions of users, many of whom continue to play the game after nearly a year since launch.“
The executive says that the similarities between the two games go beyond the superficial level and that they were pointed out as soon as The Ville launched, both by the team that worked on The Sims Social and by other members of the video game industry.
The lawsuit mentions everything from design choices and animations to visual style and character motions.
Bradshaw took a hard line on the issue, saying that other studios were victims of copyright infringement by Zynga
but lacked the resources to mount a strong legal claim.
Reggie Davis, who is the general counsel at Zynga, said that his company would defend against the accusations that Electronic Arts has leveled and that the lawsuit is “ironic”.
I played The Sims Social when it launched and discovered a pretty interesting – yet limited – title that never once innovated to push the limits of the Facebook-based social experience powered by micropayments.