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Zynga on plagiarism claims: 'We don't need to be first, just best'

Social developer says it's 'evolving' existing genres

Zynga CEO Mark Pincus has responded to recent plagiarism accusations by saying the social game developer's modus operandi isn't to rip off other titles, but to refine and improve them so they're the best on the market.


In a company email that made its way to GamesBeat, Pincus said he was "proud of the mobile team's hard work", stating that Zynga doesn't "need to be first to market", it needs "to be the best".

"We evolve genres by making games free, social, accessible and highest quality," he wrote, drawing comparisons between his own company and major tech firms like Facebook, Google and Apple.

"Google didn't create the first search engine. Apple didn't create the first mp3 player or tablet. And, Facebook didn't create the first social network. But these companies have evolved products and categories in revolutionary ways. They are all internet treasures because they all have specific and broad missions to change the world."

Last week Nimblebit, the developer of Tiny Tower, released an open letter to Zynga criticising Dream Heights for numerous similarities to its game. In his internal email, Pincus pointed out that the gameplay concept used by Nimblebit wasn;t original, saying the dev is equally guilty of reproducing ideas.

"With regard to Dream Heights and the tower genre, it's important to note that this category has existed since 1994 with games like Sim Tower and was more recently popularized in China with Tower of Babel in 2009 which achieved 15 million DAUs," he explained.

"On iOS there has been Yoot Tower, Tower Up, Tower Town, Tower Blocks and Tiny Tower. Just as our games, mechanics and social innovations have inspired and accelerated the game industry, its 30 year body of work has inspired us too."

The Zynga CEO went on to admit that its most popular titles aren't the original ideas, but claimed the studio has evolved them to make them better.

"Zynga Poker, FarmVille, CityVille and Words with Friends, none of these games were the first to market in their category but we made them the most fun and social, and the most popular.

"Our teams continue to build and improve these games every week which has been an important part of our success model. We run our games as a live service and we continue to iterate, innovate and improve on them to give our players the best possible experience."

Following Nimblebit's claim, Buffalo Studios also accused Zynga of copying one of its titles with Zynga Bingo.

[ SOURCE: VentureBeat ]