Zynga: "all games are derived from other games"

"This has been happening long before Zynga."

Social game make Zynga - often accused of ripping off other's ideas - has insisted everyone copies everyone.

"All games are derived from other games," Dan Porter, boss of Zynga New York, wrote in an open letter published in response to an article he felt misrepresented his views on the subject.

"... this has been happening long before Zynga... the debate about originality in games is vastly overblown and misses the mark."

Zynga has come under fire from a number of quarters in recent years for apparent copying, but it was publishing behemoth EA that put its money behind a high-profile lawsuit that claimed Zynga's Facebook game The Ville was a blatant ripoff of The Sims Social. The pair settled out of court earlier this year (boring!).

"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," Porter continued. "This is no great revelation."

Porter then goes on to describe "the true genius of Zynga", that is, keeping people playing its games.

"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.

"I was at the all hands. I saw all those game demos. There is great stuff in the pipeline. I really do believe that Zynga is the best in the world at creating and socializing games, and running the [sic] as a service that people love. Ultimately that is the huge factor in what makes Zynga a sustaining company."

Porter said the debate over copying games was a "distraction".

"What matters is the ability to run those games as a service."

It remains to be seen whether Porter's words will help convince some of Zynga's staunchest critics to change their opinion of the company, which has suffered in recent months with layoffs and a tumbling share price.

In January 2012 Tiny Tower creator NimbleBit blasted Zynga following the launch of rival game Dream Heights.

"Good luck with your game, we are looking forward to inspiring you with our future games!" read an open letter from the small developer.

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Wesley Yin-Poole

Wesley Yin-Poole

Editor  |  wyp100

Wesley is Eurogamer's editor. He likes news, interviews, and more news. He also likes Street Fighter more than anyone can get him to shut up about it.


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