EA’s pending lawsuit against Zynga for copyright infringement is quickly turning into a public relations brawl, as both companies are now openly sniping at each other for stealing gameplay concepts and ideas from each other. It’s turning into a real “chicken and egg” thing as a result, and Zynga’s fired the latest volley of sharp words betwixt them.
According to AllThingsD, Zynga general counsel Reggie Davis argued that The ‘Ville doesn’t rip-off The Sims Social, but is actually a natural progression of development that’s come from every Zynga title so far:
“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.”
Of course, this is where the language and specifics of the lawsuit can get tricky.
If you really think about it, EVERY video game copies another one, and gameplay concepts themselves aren’t something that can really be protected by copyright law. If that were the case, EA should be suing Activision for copying Medal of Honor and Battlefield with Call of Duty.
In fact, that might’ve even happened. It wouldn’t be surprising.
Of course, that argument simply leads to asking who came up with the idea first. To that point, EA’s response was short, sweet, and particularly biting:
And in response to that response, EA’s John Reseburg shot back, “They must be distracted right now; otherwise they would have noticed we have been shipping SimCity games since the 1990s.”
EA previously made a public note about Zynga’s perceived inability to develop games without copying other titles, with spokesman Jeff Brown speaking up last June after the “Zynga Unleashed” showcase. Resentment between the two companies likely runs far deeper than that, especially since they’re two of the top competitors in the social/mobile gaming market.