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Zynga CEO Addresses Copycat Claims

Zynga has been under fire for copying others' games, and in the wake of recent allegations by Tiny Tower developer NimbleBit and others, Zynga CEO Mark Pincus has talked about the issue.

GamesBeat has a Zynga memo from Pincus to his employees where he frames the situation in a slightly different way. "We don’t need to be first to market. We need to be the best in market. There are genres that we’re going to enter because we know our players are interested in them and because we want and need to be where players are. We evolve genres by making games free, social, accessible, and highest quality."

In an interview with GamesBeat, Pincus elaborated. "We think there is a massive body of work in the video game industry that is going to be re-imagined for decades to come in a way that is free, accessible, and social. That’s what we’re doing. I don’t think anyone should be surprised when they see us come out with games that they’ve seen before, a decade or more ago. I don’t think there are a lot of totally new games that are invented."

Pincus also fought back against a recent allegation from Buffalo Studios that Zynga copied its Bingo Blitz by saying that Buffalo's title itself had already borrowed from Zynga's Poker Blitz (complete with picture comparisons).

But it doesn't stop there. Tiny Tower NimbleBit has already responded to Pincus' response! Speaking of innovation, in his interview Pincus referred to various Tower social games like SimTower, Yoot Tower, Tower Up, etc. as a part of genre that has continually evolved, including Zynga's own Dream Heights and NimbleBit's Tiny Tower.

NimbleBit's Ian Marsh told Touch Arcade that it's disingenuous of Pincus to suggest that any "Tower" games are part of a larger genre pool that is being improved upon. "It is a smart idea for Mark Pincus and Zynga to try and lump all games with the name Tower together as an actual genre whose games borrow from each other. Unfortunately sharing a name or setting does not a genre make."

Marsh goes on to state that when you copy exact design details, you are copying the heart of what that game is. "...You'll find an innumerable number of details in [Dream Heights] that were painstakingly crafted to be identical to Tiny Tower. These are core gameplay mechanics and rules, not similar settings or themes that games in the same genre might share."

For the full interview, details, and memo, head over to GamesBeat and Touch Arcade.

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