As we just reported, EA has filed a lawsuit against Zynga over the striking similarities between EA’s The Sims and Zynga’s The Ville.
Zynga’s General Counsel, Reggie Davis, has given The Next Web a statement on the matter:
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.
This is not your run of the mill “we will defend ourselves” statement, Zynga has absolutely come out swinging. This response shows that Zynga more than likely had itself prepared in the event that EA filed such a lawsuit, which claims that Zynga: “copied and misappropriated the original and distinctive expressive elements of The Sims Social in a violation of U.S. copyright laws.”
EA posted its official statement on its site, stating:
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 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. 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 gaming giant wants to make a stand against practices by Zynga that it, and some others, considers to be shady. Expect a long, and expensive, legal battle over the next few months, if not longer. How this affects stocks for both companies is also important to watch, as Zynga has not had the best few months ever.