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EA: "We're standing up for the industry" against Zynga

EA: "We're standing up for the industry" against Zynga

Tue 21 Aug 2012 7:34am GMT / 3:34am EDT / 12:34am PDT
LegalPublishing

COO Peter Moore on why he's ready to take on the social media giant

EA COO Peter Moore has revealed the why the publisher has started a legal battle against Zynga over game cloning,and how the incident affected its developers.

"When we looked at TheVille we felt somewhat affronted by what we saw as copyright infringement. Moore told Eurogamer.

"There's never been a company that has the wherewithal and the resources to take cloning to the next level. We do."

"We also feel from an industry perspective that a number of these things have happened before related to Zynga, but there's never been a company that has the wherewithal and the resources to take it to the next level. We do."

EA filed a lawsuit against Zynga at the start of this month claiming TheVille showed wilful copyright infringement, and stated "design choices, animations, visual arrangements and character motions and actions have been directly lifted from The Sims Social."

"We're defending our Maxis studio, and we're standing up for the industry," continued Moore.

"The roots of what we do as an industry is creative, from the minds of people who sit there and build storylines and characters and mesh it all together and work hard to do it. You take years to do that. And when you see somebody, quite frankly, take months replicating what you've done, you're upset. We were upset. We were upset for Maxis."

"And we've seen enough of it from an industry perspective, with smaller publishers and developers who also put their hands up and said, 'this is not right, but I don't know what to do about it.' We do."

1

Eurogamer noted that EA has received support for the decision from indie studios like Nimblebit, which was itself a victim of Zynga cloning.

"We got a lot of that and the teams respond to that. And privately we've had a lot of feedback directly to our teams, to Lucy [Bradshaw] in particular, who's well known in the industry, and she more than anybody has been part of The Sims since the Will Wright days of creating it. She was upset about it. And we decided to do something about it."

"And yes, privately the industry has sent us nice messages of support. We're a creative industry, and your tools should be your mind and the digital tools to create the characters. It shouldn't be a photocopier, and that's what we saw there."

33 Comments

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
Over the past few years Zynga have contributed vastly more to the gaming industry than EA have.
The development of the whole social gaming model and the use of free to play and IAPs, which is how the whole industry is now moving.

Posted:2 years ago

#1

Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus

451 710 1.6
"We're standing up for the industry!"

BZZZZZZZZZZZT. You didn't interfere until they started stepping on your turf, and wouldn't if they didn't. You would let Nimblebit and every other smaller dev whose work was blatantly stolen fend for themselves - hell, you still are - if not for Sims Social being stolen. Stop spinning this as a company (incorrectly) voted the Worst in America standing up for the little man, it's pathetic.

Posted:2 years ago

#2

Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus

451 710 1.6
Popular Comment
@Bruce - Should every post you make come with a disclaimer? Like, you own stock, or your company's success directly depends on Zynga? Because it's getting sad at this point.

Also, Zynga didn't develop the free to play model. That's a load of shit. Korean companies were using that LONG before Pincus even thought of creating Zynga (see: Maplestory, among others)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Christopher Bowen on 21st August 2012 9:15am

Posted:2 years ago

#3

Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator

954 182 0.2
BZZZZZZZZZZZT. You didn't interfere until they started stepping on your turf, and wouldn't if they didn't.
+1

Bit like America and Pearl Harbour!

Posted:2 years ago

#4

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
@Christopher Bowen

I haven't got round to buying that Zynga stock yet, thank you for reminding me.
Kwalee have no commercial contact whatsoever with Zynga other than holding them up as a paragon of success.

Of course Zynga developed the FTP model. I didn't claim that they invented it.

Posted:2 years ago

#5

Tamir Ibrahim Programmer, Rodeo Games

76 56 0.7
Popular Comment
"You didn't interfere until they started stepping on your turf, and wouldn't if they didn't."

While that is true, they can't really sue Zynga for copying someone else's game can they? And sure, they're doing it just as much for the PR as for protection of the IP but honestly, if it's something you think should happen, why do you care what the reasons are behind it?

Posted:2 years ago

#6
Popular Comment
Arguably Zynga contributed to a healthy games industry what McDonalds contributed to a healthy food industry. Their cheap, easily replicated stuff created new markets and mass profits but you'd have to really, really like money to believe this makes McDonalds the premium food supplier, or Zynga the company devs should aspire to. Taste buds aren't known for factoring in balance sheets so people need to get over the fact that Zyngas huge success does not gloss over a cynical business model or creatively stinking leadership.

Apple didn't shift mass volume of tacky shit first and then figure out how to make a desirable product, they made something excellent and the world flocked to them. Against this vision many industry folks see the McDonalds/Zynga route to success as the cheapest most depressing one. Bruce and other Zynga fans who evangelise need to stop being surprised by this at every turn :P

Posted:2 years ago

#7

Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd

321 748 2.3
@Christopher Bowen

So you would prefer that they didn't take Zynga to court?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Robin Clarke on 21st August 2012 2:23pm

Posted:2 years ago

#8

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 942 0.7
Zynga just messed with one of the big players in the industry. they are big enough to step all over Zynga and do something, that smaller companies cant. Im really rooting for EA and I hope EA shows them that zynga cant keep stealing ideas or copying games. If anything Zynga is the one that needs a wake up call and be taught a lesson. Zynga should make effort into creating more original games,IP and expanding into other platforms. they can do console video games for a change with all that money they are sitting on (or were sitting on), instead of stealing them and profiting of the creation of others. they buy smaller companies, take there assets and IP, get rid of the old employee's and profit off what others created. I really dislike Zynga and hope they get whats coming to them.

And if anyone helped social gaming and free to play become what they are, it was the korean's and facebook.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 21st August 2012 7:45pm

Posted:2 years ago

#9
If EA win, does this mean it will be easier for all the developers who have had their games ripped off to sue and win their cases?

Posted:2 years ago

#10
Look who couldnt get out of Facebook (and therefore zynga) fast enough...
http://venturebeat.com/2012/08/20/peter-thiel-facebook/

Posted:2 years ago

#11

James Prendergast Research Chemist

735 432 0.6
@ John Owens. Well, it won't make it any cheaper! (Though I suppose it might make private settlements more palatable....)

Posted:2 years ago

#12

Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus

451 710 1.6
@Tamir, and @Robin - EA could file a "friend of the court" filing in favour of anyone trying to take on Zynga. They could also provide their own legal council to the company, though that comes with its own strings (it reeks of protection money).

Ultimately, it's a good thing that EA's taking on Zynga; I might strongly dislike EA, but at least they create things, whereas Zynga has gotten where they are by blatantly stealing the work of others for years. But it makes me angry when EA spins it as them being a white knight shield for all of the smaller developers that they haven't thought to buy and assimilate themselves. Bullshit spin is bullshit spin.

Posted:2 years ago

#13

Paolo Giunti Localisation Project Manager, GlobaLoc GmbH

42 8 0.2
@John Owens
In a way yes, it can.
So far Zynga managed to get away 'cause the hard part is to prove your work was stolen as opposed to just have some accidental similarities. In the legalese realm, the line is always a bit blurred there.
If EA wins, then it can set a precedent that makes that line more clean. This means that similar legal issues may become more approachable by smaller studios.

Posted:2 years ago

#14

Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus

451 710 1.6
By the way, bully to Destructoid's Jim Sterling for rightly calling a spade a spade regarding EA. http://www.destructoid.com/ea-vs-zynga-ea-claims-it-s-a-game-industry-defender--233529.phtml

Posted:2 years ago

#15

Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd

321 748 2.3
Comparing the wholesale duplication of an existing design to publishers being partial to formulaic sequels is somewhat ridiculous. But that's Destructoid for you.

Posted:2 years ago

#16

Jason Sartor Copy editor/Videographer, Florida Today

104 33 0.3
@John Owens: The cost of litigation doesn't become cheaper, but if EA wins and also is awarded legal fees then smaller developers might be more inclined to bring litigation against Zynga.
Also, and this is really big, it depends on how EA presents its case and actually wins. If EA only show evidence of the Sims Social and TheVille, then a ruling would be stand-alone on that property only and each developer would have to start from the ground up on their own property. However, if EA enters into evidence The Heights being ripped off of Tiny Tower and other Zynga games that are clones of games by other developers as evidence and can prove to the court that TheVille is not an isolated incident, but rather Zynga's business practices, then those companies that had there games used as evidence would have the ability to demonstrate in their own lawsuit that Zynga has already been found guilty with their own property as evidence. They could use the same tactic as using SimsSocial and TheVille as evidence that Tiny Tower also has been ripped off.

Posted:2 years ago

#17

Adam Campbell Associate Producer, Miniclip Ltd

1,179 967 0.8
They're doing nothing for us. They're trying to recover ground and missed opportunities that Zynga have taken themselves to become successful. Neither are perfect companies but EA have had a lot to think about since the rise of Zynga...

Posted:2 years ago

#18

David Canela Game Designer

56 102 1.8
Yes, zynga has contributed a lo...sadly there isn't necessarily a correlation between quantity and quality...

Posted:2 years ago

#19

Tony Johns

520 12 0.0
I am not sure if EA's stand against Zynga is a good idea or a bad idea that could bite them from behind if they are not careful.

Posted:2 years ago

#20

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

819 652 0.8
@Bruce

I remember one statement you made few weeks back in which you said that consoles where "limiting creativity", now you defend a company that not only does cloning, but directly steals assets. May I ask how come this curious change of perspective?

If we are going to talk about creativity and professional praxis, Zinga represents everything that is wrong with the industry. Most of the time EA is no better (and I know well after working there for two years) but like @Robin said, I'm glad at least someone sends this guys to court.

Posted:2 years ago

#21

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
The comments here are funny because people are balancing their EA hate against their Zynga hate. Success = being hated.
Creativity take many forms. And since 2007 Zynga have led the creativity in the game industry. It may not be the creativity you want and like. But many tens of millions of people do like it, as proven by their actions. This has made Zynga the most successful gaming company in the world since then.
As a marketing person I think that the reason for our existence is to look after customers. Zynga have brought massive creativity to doing exactly this.

Posted:2 years ago

#22
And since 2007 Zynga have led the creativity in the game industry.
I work in the creative field and I'm quite concerned when i hear statements as above. If you could back this statement up with some solid facts and examples, I am sure all the readers here are open to listening

Posted:2 years ago

#23

Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator

954 182 0.2
Success = being hated.
I don't see a lot of Valve hate.

Also working in the creative field, I'm unsure how Zynga copying other peoples games is deemed as 'creative' either...

Posted:2 years ago

#24

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
Their use of metrics is a massive innovation that has changed the industry forever.

Posted:2 years ago

#25
Popular Comment
Their use of metrics is a massive innovation that has changed the industry forever.
Thats like saying, using a feedback loop is innovative. Fact is google has been a pioneer of data metrics for a far longer time, and in auditing, science and medicine feedback loops have long been a bastion of adjustment in selection criteria and tests. I dont see any new innovation except using the data for its own purposes.

So, again, please back up the act with something truly new, innovative or creative. Otherwise, its actually just old news of what has already existed before in every other field

Posted:2 years ago

#26

Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator

954 182 0.2
+1 Chee.

If idea theft + copying games + data metrics = games industry creativity, I wouldn't want to be a part of it.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Kingman Cheng on 22nd August 2012 11:17am

Posted:2 years ago

#27

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,270 2,439 1.1
Popular Comment
Theft is theft, Bruce. Doesn't matter that EA is afflicted with sequalitis or can't innovate on every game they make or have a horrible workspace track record. Face it a company blatantly stole or ripped off assets, concepts and ideas from another company. If people like you are going to look past theft for the sake of metrics, our industry is in far worse shape than I thought. It sickens me.

Posted:2 years ago

#28

Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend

257 557 2.2
Bruce, any chance we can hire you out for birthday parties???

Posted:2 years ago

#29

Christopher McCraken CEO/Production Director, Double Cluepon Software

111 257 2.3
Sorry, but I had to stop laughing before I posted this.
Zynga and EA are two heads of the same hydra: multi-million dollar companies who swipe at each other. We've seen it before. Apple and Samsung are a good example. Let's not forget that Apple is trying to indemnify app developers for the Lodsys litigation. I mean, Apple wouldn't do anything harmful to the industry, would they?
Every big company needs some good PR, this is EA's stab at it. What's lost here is that both companies are equally wretched, and as time goes on, represent less and less of what the industry should and can be. EA attempting to frame this as "We're looking out for you!" is perverse, as they continue insulting gamers with overused IP, lack of creativity, and obliterating developers. It takes some chutzpah to talk about how you're a bastion of innovation the same day you fire George Fan, the day after you announce a sequel to the IP he created.

Spare us EA. If you wanted to go into comedy, perhaps you should look into buying Jellyvision, so you can ruin You Don't Know Jack?

Posted:2 years ago

#30

Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters

527 786 1.5
Actually, I don't care about why they're doing it, I'm just glad they are. In the same way that I'm glad they did everyone a favour by putting a stop to that trademark troll Timothy Langdell extorting money out of anyone who dreamed of something involving the word Edge.

Posted:2 years ago

#31

Simon Arnet

54 3 0.1
Ok, let's take a look at Bruce's comments and get down to the facts. Bruce's claim is that Zynga has provided most of the innovation in the game industry. That's true, but only to a point and only for the past couple of years. Zynga, is like GameLoft. If you remember the old Maxis titles, I'm pretty sure Zynga has ripped off every single one of them. FarmVille being a blatant rip off of SimFarm. City Ville being a fairly good Rip Off of Sim City. Do I really need to go on, let's wait for Tower Ville to come out and see what the differences are between that and Sim Tower.

From what I have seen the only innovations Zynga have done are on the business side of things, and only transferring the Korean F2P model to an American and European Audience.

Ok, Bruce I don't know if your trying to be serious or not at this point...
"Their use of metrics is a massive innovation that has changed the industry forever. "

You act like this is an amazing innovation, actually I'd say that's a red hearing. Let's stay focused on the games Zynga makes and not how game companies have started paying their employee's.

I should also add, I've done my fair share of marketing and I have to disagree. Marketing has nothing or very little to do with the customers, that's called customer service. Marketing is about finding niche's to exploit and how to organically grow your brand name so that people respect your product. Making sure the customers are happy is the job of customer service for the most part. Now, you are right in that Zynga is largely a marketing effort to suck money from consumers and appeal to as many people as possible.

Edited 4 times. Last edit by Simon Arnet on 23rd August 2012 10:46am

Posted:2 years ago

#32

Preet Basson Studying Mathematics with Statistics, University of Portsmouth

92 13 0.1
They both as bad and shady as each other

Posted:2 years ago

#33

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