The Ville, Zynga’s Facebook game, “copied the original and distinctive expressive elements of The Sims Social in a clear violation of the U.S. copyright laws,” EA’s Maxis Label General Manager Lucy Bradshaw, which develops The Sims franchise, in a blog post.
The similarities between The Ville and The Sims Social are so numerous that “an uninitiated observer” wouldn’t be able to tell them apart, she wrote. “The similarities go well beyond any superficial resemblance. Zynga’s design choices, animations, visual arrangements and character motions and actions have been directly lifted from The Sims Social,” the post reads.
According to figures provided by EA, Facebook users have flocked to The Sims Social, which debuted in August 2011. The company said several million people play the Facebook version of the popular The Sims game, which allows people to simulate lives in a virtual city.
The Ville, introduced in June, builds on technology found in previous Ville games, such as CityVille and CastleVille, said Zynga’s General Counsel, Reggie David, in an emailed statement. David went on to say that Sim City Social bears “an uncanny resemblance to Zynga’s CityVille game.” Zynga’s Ville line allows people to create virtual lives in various settings.
“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” and Zynga will defend its rights “to the fullest extent possible,” the statement said.
EA’s lawsuit was filed in the US. District Court for the Northern District of California.