EA has dropped a lawsuit on Zynga’s doorstep, claiming that one of Zynga’s latest Facebook games, called The Ville, is essentially an infringing copy of EA’s popular The Sims. You can read through the entire complaint at Scribd. What’s most interesting about this whole case — other than two companies fussing over whose millions are whose — is that EA is casting itself as the defender of innovation for casual and social gaming.
Forty-seven points into the complaint, EA brings up the Tiny Tower/Dream Tower debacle, in which Zynga released a game very similar to Nimblebit’s popular Tiny Tower called Dream Tower. In EA’s post about the lawsuit, the general manager of EA’s Maxis Studio (creators of The Sims Social) says that “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.”
Now, whether any other studios allegedly copied by Zynga have the resources to “stand up and do something about it” might still be in question. But reading through the complaint, it’s more than apparent that EA isn’t going after Zynga just for themselves — they’re trying to establish a repeated pattern of Zynga’s infringement.
And given Zynga’s stock troubles lately, a big lawsuit like this is probably the last thing the company needs. It’ll be very interesting to see how this litigation moves forward.