I think it is accurate to say that I have shown Electronic Arts VERY little kindness in my posts about them. I think they are greedy, petty, and petulant megalomaniacs as a corporate personality, and have a well-established history of buying properties, destroying studios, and running game franchises into the ground while extracting maximum financial gain from the ashes of former greatness.
That said, they are not always wrong. They have stood up for marriage equality, have corrected many of the worker issues to the point where they are now a good place to work, and they put out loads of games that gamers like to play.
Now they are doing something else good – taking on shameless game-copier Zynga. How BAD is Zynga in terms of shameless copying? Let’s take a look:
Here is a cool comic from Dorkly showing Zynga (check the rest at the site, definitely worth it!)
Now some folks might immediately ask “how is this different from what Gameloft does”? Which is a good question – you can find plenty of sites that will list console games and their very similar iOS variants from Gameloft. But there are a few major differences:
- Gameloft takes popular CONSOLE games and makes handheld (iOS and Android) games with SIMILAR THEMES. This is critical – each Gameloft game will remind you of a popular console game, yet the story, characters, settings and more change. It is the ‘inspired by’ versus ‘copied from’ difference.
- Gameloft DOES NOT make wholesale bit-by-bit copies of a game ON THE SAME PLATFORM.
- Because of Gameloft we have games SIMILAR to Halo or Modern Warfare on the iPad … yet the originals remain unique.
If you look at the first image or check out either Forbes link, you will see that Zynga has engaged in bald-faced copying of existing games, usually from very small developers unable to afford the lawsuit to take on Zynga. Enter EA, a mammoth company who can afford this.
From an article about the lawsuit:
In the lawsuit, EA asserts that this is not the first time that Zynga has done this. Here is an excerpt: “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.”
As I said, Gameloft has taken plenty of criticism for their approach, but it is very different from what Zynga is doing. While I would love for Gameloft to put out more truly original works (something they are doing more and more at this point), what I really want is for Zynga to JUST PLAIN STOP. Even to the point that I am cheering on the reigning ‘Worst Company in America’, Electronic Arts.