Electronic Arts‘ has apparently had enough of its too-close-for-comfort neighbors The Ville. The gaming giant has filed suit against Zynga, accusing the game maker of essentially ripping off their popular game The Sims Social.

The copyright infringement case was filed in a San Francisco federal court today, calling The Ville an “unmistakable copy” of The Sims Social. EA is seeking injunctive relief and damages.

In a statement on EA’s site, general manager of EA’s Maxis Label Lucy Bradshaw 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 copying was so comprehensive that the two games are, to an uninitiated observer, largely indistinguishable. Scores of media and bloggers commented on the blatant mimicry.”

Indeed, here’s Mashable calling Zynga out on its alleged copycat ways when The Ville was released in June. “At its Zynga Unleashed event Tuesday the company unveiled a new game it’s calling The Ville — but which you might be forgiven for calling Zynga Does the Sims.”

Zynga has issued this in response to the suit: “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,” said Reggie Davis Zynga general counsel in a statement, you can see here at the Wall Street Journal.

And, as noted on several online sources following the industry, Zynga is known for having its games hit a little too close to home for many developers, for example, NimbleBit noticed that its Tiny Tower was essentially cloned by Zynga for its Dream Heights game earlier this year.

What say? Is this like a Backstreet Boys vs.’N Sync kinda thing, where there’s room in Toon Town for everyone? Or is Zynga like the little sharksucker of the gaming world, feeding off the hard work of others?

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  • Guest

    What a brilliant play by EA! After Zynga’s stock drops on the news of this litigation, we expect that EA will be able to simply absorb Zynga and shut it down.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Donovan-Kliegg/100001187341261 Donovan Kliegg

    There is no legal way to prevent this kind of knock off, and EA knows that. They are just hoping to tarnish Zynga as a less reputable game developer. This is business as usual and is the same tactic used in all content based industries.

    For a while, this wasn’t a big deal when all the games were big studio productions. Knock offs don’t happen when it takes years to create the knock off.

  • MisterED

    Donovan, there is no need for EA to “tarnish Zynga’s” reputation. That company’s reputation is already in the gutter. Has been for some time. Try reading this article that explains it a bit in more detail: http://www.sfweekly.com/2010-09-08/news/farmvillains/

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