Prepare for a nasty fight, folks.
“As a longstanding game developer, I know what it feels like to pour your heart and soul into creating something unique and special for your fans to enjoy,” said Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw in a blog post this afternoon. “Today, we hope to be taking a stand that helps the industry protect the value of original creative works and those that work tirelessly to create them.”
Zynga, of course, disagrees, and issued a statement pushing back on EA’s claims not long after news of the lawsuit became public.
“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,” said Zynga general counsel Reggie 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. Nonetheless, we plan to defend our rights to the fullest extent possible and intend to win with players.”
EA’s decision to press forward with a lawsuit regarding Sim City Social and The Ville is also baked into a larger context, the publisher argued. EA is not the first company to accuse Zynga of playing fast and loose with game design (see: Nimblebit and Tiny Tower), and EA claims it wants to use this case as a way of settling the score for everybody who’s felt as though Zynga has plucked from them.
Whether or not this is actually true doesn't really matter--it'll prove a popular rallying cry.
"This is a case of principle,” said Bradshaw. “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 lawsuit is online, courtesy of Kotaku, and is a hugely detailed account of EA’s claims. Some of the images are sure to raise an eyebrow. Here’s just a selection:
Zynga has taken a beating in the past few weeks, with its stock price crashing and accusations of insider trading. This is just the latest in a series of negative news waves for the company, and you need only look at the comments on EA's blog post for an indication for how the public is going to react to this lawsuit.
People may not like EA very much, but it turns out they hate Zynga a whole hell of a lot more.