Monday, 6 August 2012

EA Sues Zynga

Regardless of who wins I'll be slightly amused.

Hello everyone. I'm back after a short reprieve to recharge my batteries and watch Batman, mostly that latter thing. Good movie, not great. Anyways, this isn't a movie review blog, so I won't get into that further; besides that there's been no lack of developments over the week I was absent, so I'll be touching upon some of the things that caught my attention.

Strangely the first story that I'm covering will probably also serve as the most recent on as well. On August 3rd Electronic Arts issued a statement revealing that it's suing Zynga for copyright infringement. The core of the case alleges that Zynga's game The Ville has ripped things off of EA's The Sims Social.

Now, in terms of fair warning, I have to admit that I'm biased as all get-out against, well, both of these companies for their behaviours. EA has been making all the wrong kinds of waves over the past couple of months for things like their day one DLC, adoption of draconian anti-piracy measures, and a myriad of other lovely things that could and have formed plenty of article on their own. As much as I express a distaste for EA though, I have to admit that in this case I can't help but think of them as the lesser of two evils for one simple reason.

I HATE Zynga. If I had to go for the cliche and name a "cancer" that could potentially kill the industry, I think that Zynga would be it. Blatant theft, software that barely qualifies -- and in my eyes doesn't qualify -- as something you could call a game, use of what I've come to call the "buy or bug" strategy, where you either pay to make headway or try to rope everyone around you and their dog into playing so that you can get some loot and introduce them to the same misery. For all these reasons and more I can't say that I've been anything but extremely pleased that Zynga has seen it's stock take an absolute nosedive recently, and that now they seem to have been caught with their hand in the cookie jar by someone that's in a position to actually do something about it. Hell, the statement from EA practically says so:

"This is a case of principle.  Maxis isn’t the first studio to claim that Zynga copied its creative product.  But we are the studio that has the financial and corporate resources to stand up and do something about it.  Infringing a developer’s copyright is not an acceptable practice in game development.  By calling Zynga out on this illegal practice, we hope to have a secondary effect of protecting the rights of other creative studios who don’t have the resources to protect themselves."

Now I'm not really buying into any sort of nobility on EA's part in regards to protecting the little guy (perhaps an unwritten addendum would include that EA wants to protect these studios so it can consume them and their delicious innards from themselves ...) but as far as I'm concerned it's about time that Zynga got their cages rattled. If EA is going to be the ones to do it, then so be it. Hell, if they go about it in the right way then EA might actually earn itself back into the good graces of a lot of gamers, myself potentially included.

Since this case is so fresh there will doubtless be many developments, and you can expect to see them here when I catch wind of them.

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