Mark Skaggs, senior vice president of product development at Zynga Inc., speaks during an event at Zynga Inc. headquarters in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Tuesday, June 26, 2012. Zynga Inc. introduced a social-networking service designed to make it easier for users to play online games across different mobile devices and existing sites. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
By Brett Molina, USA TODAY
Electronic Arts is suing Zynga for copyright infringement, claiming the social gaming giant copied one of their games.
According to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in California, EA alleges Zynga's new Facebook game The Ville is an "unmistakable copy" of The Sims Social.
"The similarities go well beyond any superficial resemblance," says Lucy Bradshaw, general manager of EA's Maxis label, the creators of The Sims Social. "Zynga's design choices, animations, visual arrangements and character motions and actions have been directly lifted from The Sims Social. The copying was so comprehensive that the two games are, to an uninitiated observer, largely indistinguishable."
In a statement responding to the lawsuit, Zynga general counsel Reggie Davis says the company plans to "defend our rights to the fullest extent possible."
"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," says Davis. "It's also ironic that EA brings this suit shortly after launching SimCity Social which bears an uncanny resemblance to Zynga's CityVille game.
Unveiled in June, The Ville allows players to create avatars and "build the home of their dreams," designing the interior and creating avatars that socialize with friends.
The Sims Social, launched last August on Facebook, lets players create their own Sim and start virtual lives on the social network.
The lawsuit underscores broader accusations that Zynga rips off other games. For example, in January, Tiny Tower creators NimbleBit called out Zynga for its title Dream Heights, Joystiq reported.
"Good luck with your game, we are looking forward to inspiring you with our future games," said NimbleBit.
EA's Bradshaw says the publisher is "taking a stand" against Zynga and the allegations of copying.
"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."