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“The copying was so comprehensive that the two games are, to an uninitiated observer, largely indistinguishable,” said Lucy Bradshaw, General Manager of Maxis (the EA subsidiary that produces all Sims games) said at the time.
Zynga finally responded to the claim Friday -- by accusing EA of copying Activision’s Little Computer People when it created The Sims to begin with. It also accuses EA of copying Zynga when it comes to social games.
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“Zynga’s YoVille, released in 2008, three years before The Sims Social, was the first commercially viable life simulation game on Facebook, “ Zynga says in court papers filed Friday. “YoVille allowed players to: customize a virtual avatar by selecting its skin color, facial features, hair color, hair style, and clothing; decorate and arrange furniture within a virtual home; work a virtual job; and socialize with other players by visiting them and sending them virtual gifts. “
Zynga adds, “In other words, it was Activision—not EA—that first developed the ideas found in The Sims Social, and it was Zynga—not EA—that first brought the concept to Facebook.”
In a CNN interview in 2000, Sim's creator Will Wright acknowledged playing Little Computer People, and receiving "valuable feedback" on the game from its creator Rich Gold.
Zynga claims that EA actualy copied it when it started making social games for Facebook, noting that EA’s SimCity Social was launched a year and a half after Zynga’s CityVille.
“A side-by-side comparison of Zynga's CityVille and EA’s SimCity Social shows that EA draws heavily on elements found in Zynga’s CityVille game. In fact, in promoting its game, EA explicitly played on Zynga’s popular CityVille: “More City, Less Ville.”
EA’s lawsuit against Zynga regarding The Ville isn’t the first time the company has been accused of copying games. The company often releases games that are exceptionally similar to other popular games on the market. FarmVille, for instance, was released after a similar game Farm Town took Facebook by storm.
The company acknowledged that tradition in Friday's court filing.
“Zynga did not achieve its success in the social gaming sphere by launching games that users don’t want to play. It achieved its success by innovating in popular genres, a tradition it has continued with The Ville."
What do you think? Is EA or Zynga in the right? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
The genre of "match three" games is largely uninventive — plenty of games have tried to put various spins on the same puzzle concept. But Zynga's Ruby Blast (right) borrows very heavily from one gameplay mode in PopCap's popular game, Bejeweled. In Bejewled's "Diamond Mine" mode, you need to match groups of three or more gems to dig deeper into a mine to explore for buried treasure. The further you dig successfully, more time is added to your clock. Ruby Blast, released just two weeks ago, employs this same gameplay technique: Players search for buried treasure to increase their experience, and race against the clock to dig deeper into a mine.
This story originally published on Mashable here.