Electronic Arts is suing Zynga for copyright infringement, alleging that the popular Facebook game makers new "The Ville" is a wholesale ripoff of EA title "The Sims Mobile."
Cute social networking games are big business in the USA circa 2012, and Zynga, makers of the omnipresent Farmville, is one of the biggest names in the business.
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Lucy Bradshaw, general manager of EA division Maxis (which makes the Sims) railed against Zynga in a blog post.
"Zynga’s design choices, animations, visual arrangements and character motions and actions have been directly lifted from The Sims Social," says Bradshaw.
"The copying was so comprehensive that the two games are, to an uninitiated observer, largely indistinguishable," she added.
Zynga told Business Week that it feels "The Ville" builds on its earlier games, and claimed that EA's response "demonstrates a lack of understanding of basic copyright principles."
Both of the games allow the player to control (or cruelly manipulate) the lives of imaginary people, with added social networking features.
The Sims, which the Sims Mobile is based on, has been a run-away international hit since its initial 2000 release, and has sold over 150 million units, according to an EA press release.
Zynga, a newer entrant into the simulation game market and the biggest maker of Facebook games (and responsible for all those irritating Facebook Farmville alerts), has made big bucks off its "free" video games and the virtual goods that can be sold through them - although sales are down this quarter, reports Business Week.