A legal battle between Electronics Arts and Zynga begins today, as the former sues the latter for copyright infringement due to similarities between The Sims Social and The Ville. The two social games, based around creating a realistic avatar, its home and its social network both clearly take influence from Maxis' Sims titles, but whether that's to the extent of copyright infringement is up to the courts. Fortunately for fans of these two games, they don't read gaming news anyway and can continue playing happily (/snark).
Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw issued the following statement to the press, in regards to its lawsuit:
"The legal reasons are solid. But for creative teams who feel that their hard work and imaginations have been ripped off, there's obviously an emotional element too. As outlined in our complaint, when The Ville was introduced in June 2012, the infringement of The Sims Social was unmistakable to those of us at Maxis as well as to players and the industry at large."
Interestingly enough, EA is trying to earn some positive karma out of the entire situation as well. Zynga, well, has been rumored to have danced around copyright infringement in the past with multiple games. EA is more than comfortable pointing this out, and even goes so far as to declare themselves champions of smaller developers:
"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."
Zynga has since replied to the cause, stating, "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." Zynga has run into some troublesome waters in past weeks, and a lawsuit from the likes of EA is only going to make matters worse.
Check out EA's full complaint here.