The grudge match between Electronic Arts and Zynga just got fiercer.

One of the world’s biggest console game companies, Electronic Arts filed a lawsuit against Zynga, the largest social game maker. EA charged that Zynga’s The Ville is a blatant copycat of EA’s The Sims Social.  In a blog post, EA’s Maxis chief Lucy Bradshaw wrote, “The core legal issue is our belief that Zynga infringed copyrights to our game, The Sims Social. In legal terms, our claim is that Zynga copied the original and distinctive expressive elements of The Sims Social in a clear violation of the U.S. copyright laws.”

Bradshaw added, “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.”

EA launched The Sims Social in August, 2011, as a spin-off of its long-running franchise, The Sims. It is a game where players create their own characters, build a home, establish a family and then interact with their friends.

Zynga’s Reggie Davis, general counsel, replied, “We are committed to creating the most fun, innovative, social and engaging games in every major genre that our players enjoy. The Ville is the newest game in our ‘ville’ franchise – it builds on every major innovation from our existing invest-and-express games dating back to YoVille and continuing through CityVille and CastleVille, and introduces a number of new social features and game mechanics not seen in social games today.  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. 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.”


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