Zynga Vice-President Attempts to Clarify Comments about Copying Games

March 11, 2013 -

Zynga General Manager and Vice President Dan Porter has issued an email which was subsequently posted on Zynga Blog that pushes back against reports that he recently said at an event that the company copied games and that it is an industry wide practice. In his email he attempts to clarify what he claims he actually said and what is widely being reported this morning.

His response is to a comment he made at an unidentified event where he told the audience that "Zynga is often accused of copying games, which is mostly true."

But in his blog post he attempts to clarify that comment and apologizes to developers at Zynga who he says have worked very hard to bring new ideas to the table:

"What I actually said was that all games are derived from other games, that this has been happening long before Zynga, and that the debate about originality in games is vastly overblown and misses the mark. Before making Draw Something we ran OMGPOP for four years and made lots of games that were inspired by games we loved and we emulated the mechanics from games with great UI. This is no great revelation.

The bigger point that I made, one that was overshadowed, goes to the true genius of Zynga. After making games for years, it was joining Zynga that made me understand the art, science and special sauce running games as a service. When someone on the ZNY team came back from spending two weeks with Bill Allred and the WWF team and schooled us on all best practices of keeping a game popular for four years, I really started to get it. It’s been a huge learning experience."

Porter goes on to say that he has "responded and clarified" his points "directly to the reporter who posted the original story," but wanted to let those within the company know exactly what he feels about Zynga and what he actually meant to say.

You can read the entire blog post here. Earlier this year Zynga settled a rather nasty lawsuit over accusations that it stole design ideas and used similar art from EA's The Sims Social for its Facebook game The Ville. That lawsuit was quietly settled out of court and the terms of the agreement were not disclosed to the public.


Re: Zynga Vice-President Attempts to Clarify Comments about ...

It's true that there is a fine line between inspiration and rip-off.  But Zynga is so far into rip-off territory, they can't even see the line from there.

Re: Zynga Vice-President Attempts to Clarify Comments about ...

I don't think anybody is claiming that your game has to be 100% original.  We know all games draw influences and even outright copy mechanics from other games.  When a game takes something from another game and improves on it or combines it with other elements, this is the good kind of iterative copying.  The problem is the specific kind of copying Zynga is known for.  The kind of copying that is an exact copy of the gameplay of another title with different (albeit similar) artwork on top of it.  This is the bad kind of copying.

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