EA has announced it has filed a lawsuit on behalf of its Maxis Label against Zynga, for allegedly infringing EA's copyrights to its Facebook game, The Sims Social.
In the complaint, which was filed in California today, EA claims that in Zynga's recently-released Facebook game The Ville It has "wilfully and intentionally copied and misappropriated the original and distinctive expressive elements of The Sims Social in a violation of U.S. copyright laws."
Earlier this week EA broke its company-wide policy of not discussing Zynga in public, with one of the publisher's key executives describing the Facebook games giant as "on its knees".
Peter Moore, the chief operating officer at EA, used the Olympics analogy to describe Zynga's share price performance, which has suffered a dismal three months on Wall Street as its value sits under $3 per share.
Lucy Bradshaw, General Manager of EA's Maxis Label, commented on the lawsuit:
"As outlined in our complaint, when The Ville was introduced in June 2012, the infringement of The Sims Social was unmistakable to those of us at Maxis as well as to players and the industry at large.
"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.
"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.
"Today, we hope to be taking a stand that helps the industry protect the value of original creative works and those that work tirelessly to create them."