Jimquisition: EA versus Zynga - The Lesser of Two Evils

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 NEXT
 

pfft, Joker. EA is Darksied. Except not cool.

EA may be the greater evil, but for all their jackassery EA actually designs and produces games, many of which are good games (though I generally don't buy EA games, they tend to be outside my area of interest.) Zynga, on the other hand, steals and takes credit for the hard work of others or, at their very best, design elaborate and addictive skinner boxes that prey on people with low impulse control. Zynga is guilty of the worse crime, though on a much smaller scale. It is like a murderer(Zynga) vs a large scale scam artist(EA.) The murderer's crime is unquestionably worse, though the scam artist actually causes significantly more measurable damage.

Not that I am rooting for EA. I actually don't know who I want to win, because I am afraid of the legal precedent either way.

EA might be the bigger evil - but I'll be damned to spit on someone doing something good just because of his negative past.
Sure, Zynga might be small and don't affect me the slightest personally. But it does affect people and other companies, who later might want to make games I would like to play but simply can't because Zyngas clone of it was more succesful, made the money and killed off the original. (Granted, overacting here myself)

So, in this specific case - go EA. After that, they can go back to kiss my unshaved butt again.

I've been staying well away from this situation as it just seems to get sillier and sillier. I've never cared for or heard many good things about Zynga but I'm not planning on siding with either over this. Let them fart about and sort their differences out but we all know how it'll end. Just a shame EA's luring the crowd of fools who still think 'casual games' are evil to support them when there's nothing really wrong with them.

I'm going to go ahead and keep telling myself noone is stupid enough to think EA is doing this to do a good thing for gamers. I do however believe EA is in right in this case, because while there's some risk that the precedent will lead to sue-happy assholes going after any somewhat similar game, I think that setting precedent for Zynga levels of copying as a violation of copyright will be good in the long run. Even the companies Zynga has ripped off aren't making stuff I want to play, I'm still against what Zynga has done.

Not ripping into EA everytime their name comes up doesn't mean I support them. It just means I can acknowledge everything they do isn't as evil as they are. In this case what they're doing isn't evil, but the reason they're doing it is because another evil did something evil.

If the Mafia kills a brutal murderer for overstepping an area they think is theirs, can't I be glad the murderer is dead without being a cheerleader for the Mafia?

In some ways, the point seems somewhat moot: whether people cheer for EA to beat the snot out of Zynga or not, it isn't going to make a huge amount of difference in court. The judge isn't going to call a recess while he or she checks on Facebook to see how many people have signed a "Kick Zynga's ass, EA" petition. And if EA garners some tiny shred of goodwill for their actions, well, y'know, it isn't going to last: they're EA, they'll continue to act like the flesh-eating ghoul of the industry we all know and love, and tomorrow's headline will banish any warm-and-fuzzies that anyone is feeling right now.

I do have to call into question the idea that Zynga isn't also harming the industry, though. Yes, EA's wholesale consumption of game studios is horrific, but in some ways, it's almost more honest: Zynga is just consuming those studios' work without even putting their money where their mouth is. So it's mostly in the "casual" market; does that make it any less of a bad precedent, or less of a trend that others might be inclined to follow? Do none of the makers of social games or iPhone/Android apps have ambitions to create anything in other genres?

Those are rhetorical questions; I think we know the answers. By copying their work, Zynga steals money from the struggling independents who are actually creating the original IPs, whatever the genre may be, however looked-down-upon those early games might be by the so-called "hardcore" market. And by doing so, it makes it that much more likely the independents won't mature into major players in whatever the games market looks like twenty years from now.

I have ire enough for two targets, and more, thank you.

I'm sorry, but I couldn't stand this episode at all whatsoever. We're supposed to be rooting for Zynga because "They don't affect us directly"?
Zynga winning this case will allow their copycat tactics legally. If they win, it's perfectly fine to go out, look at a game, build a blatant copy of it, and throw it to the market in a quick cash-grab.
EA on the other hand retain the right to go after copyright infringement if they win. Except for "IP trolling", there is nothing wrong with that. And I simply don't buy the "IP trolling" argument. It's not like they could go out and kill the entire industry now.

What I do despise about this thing, though, is EA's white knight bullshit. "We do it for the good of the industry" my ass. It's about money and protecting the IPs - and that would be perfectly fine, if they were fucking honest about it.

Well, to be fair, Zynga seriously abuses its employees - there was someone recently who talked about being put through a ridiculous amount of crunch time that destroyed relationships, then not getting the promised bonuses because the game didn't perform well enough.

Not to say EA isn't also guilty of this EA Spouse is testament to that.

I'm disappointed that gamers constantly need to be reminded how shitty EA and all the big publishers have been to them (and developers stupid enough to be let themselves be bought by them) and how shamelessly greedy they are in soaking fans of IPs for all they're worth.

It's like a battered spouse sticking up for their abuser... "LEEROY LUUV ME!"

This is one of the few lawsuits where I'm cheering for the lawyers. I hope those bloodsucking leeches drag this out for years until neither Zynga nor EA can feel like they've "won" after all the money the lawyers siphon out.

Bravo, Jim. Yes...it's easy to call EA the "good guys" in this debacle since they on some level DO have some legal right to sue Zynga. BUT...if one were to call them out for the harm they've done to the industry including the aforementioned damage to Pandemic, I very highly doubt the sheen of goodness will last. Hell...I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Zynga mentions this fact as a reason why the lawsuit is ludicrous or, at the very least, a thinly veiled attempt to make the lawsuit look like another EA moneygrab.

CAPTCHA: HOITY-TOITY

*trademark sideways glance* There's a joke in here somewhere...I just don't see it right now...

Signa:
The worst part of this is that by suing Zynga, EA is saying they own the entire sim genre. That is not something anyone should fight for.

Granted, the plagiarism is a big deal too, but Zynga I'm sure still built the game from the ground up.

That's what bothers me about this. As if copyright laws weren't insane enough as it is without this bullshit. Gamers should unite to take down EA the way we did to take down SOPA/PIPA, not that I see that happening anytime soon. EA doesn't fight for the industry, EA is actively destroying this industry from the inside out and any support given to them only enables them to continue doing so. If I were to attach some sort of metaphor to this I'd liken it to one of those old Japanese giant monster movies where EA is the giant monster, the gaming industry is the city being destroyed, and the people in the city are all the companies that EA has crushed (or will crush). Now we just need Godzilla or Gamera to come along and take out EA.

For the first time I could not see your video till the end. You said the word evil so many times that all my mind could think of was: EA is not that evil, they are greedy. Also as an advice stop repeating a word so much makes your video looks dumb.

Zachary Amaranth:

Winthrop:
Using your pedophile slapfight metaphor, isn't it for the best that one of them gets knocked out? I don't care if its the other one that does it or some police officers. If Zynga gets crushed by this lawsuit I will be happy. I'm not cheering for EA, I'm cheering against Zynga.

Which in this case is still cheering for EA, because it only strengthens them in the end while it benefits you in no way, shape or form. But semantics, I guess.

I disagree. I don't think it strengthens them. I still find their business practices abhorrent and I do not like the company, nor do I view them as the lesser of two evils. But if my options are have two evils or have one, i'll take only having one.

As you noted last episode, the trouble with EA is that while they have eaten a whole bunch of great developers, some of them are actually still sort of alive in the belly of that beast. Some of us still wish we could support what's left of Bioware, Pandemic, etc. So if and when EA shows any sign of not being the greatest evil known to video games people are going to get hopeful.

On the other hand, how do you give a flying fuck about Zynga's wellbeing? They exclusively make the video game equivalent of the Twilight books: excuses for nearly illiterate people to say 'Look! I'm reading! And it has pages!' much in the same way _____ville games let people think they know what being a gamer is all about. Getting rid of a few philistines doesn't sound so bad these days.

So yeah, the next time some completely oblivious kid comes in here and makes a thread asking, "Why does everyone hate EA!?" I think we (as a community) can just all link him here, to this video rather then just getting into that discussion for the 100th time.

Thank god for you Jim.

brazuca:
For the first time I could not see your video till the end. You said the word evil so many times that all my mind could think of was: EA is not that evil, they are greedy.

If EA was greedy they would just be doing things to get money, in which case half their bad practices would stop because they are doing more harm to themselves then good. That's where it gets into evil territory. Companies also usually draw a line on what they can and cannot get away with, that's why entities like Sony always look into dastardly horrifying things (like commercials in game and locking out used games) but never cross the line into implementing them. They want to do it, but they know they can't, they want money too much to take the risk. EA just says F*** it and does anything it wants, to hell with the consumers and their complaints. Again, this is beyond greed and its hurting them. If they were just greedy, they would stop it, because the company's value has taken a pretty big hit over these shenanigans.
I also think it's good Jim repeated himself over and over again in this particular video, because I am getting tired of the 'Why is EA bad?' threads over and OVER again. Apparently some people need to be told things a lot more then once before they comprehend.

Jimothy Sterling:

Invadergray:
I guess the idea is people want to show EA that they can and will support them when they're in the right (and I do think legally they're in the right here) and rise up against them when they're in the wrong (Day One DLC and the like) thereby showing them what they can do to get gamers to like them again since to companies like EA, PR matters. Maybe, just maybe if the most powerful company in the industry wakes up to what gamers want from the business side of the industry, then we might just see a bright future for this industry.
...and maybe Willam Dafoe isn't incredibly sexy.

I'm all for positive reinforcement. I think it needs to happen more. However, this is a corporate copyright lawsuit. It's something companies like EA do by habit, and it'd do this if it were Zynga or a company gamers actually loved. Its crowd-pleasing statements of intent are hypocritical at best and wholly incidental to the actual reasons behind the suit.

Rewarding a company for doing simply what companies do isn't something I can cheer for. Especially when those patting EA on the head see no benefit. The consumer practices EA supports and popularizes still happen. Studios will still be cannibalized. If it stops THAT shit, then applaud away.

Thank God for you Jim.

Also, was that your cat at the end? Did EA scrue your cat?! Those sick bastards.

Anyway, have to say the whole DC thing you used to explain EA vs Zynga was pretty good, and the Bane impression was spot on. Oh, and don't worry about EA. They will do something evil again soon, you'll have to talk about it, and everyone will hate them. It's what they do best.

My God Jim , you're a great Bane !

Did we really need a 7 minute video for this?

"Zynga didn't harm anyone" - that's all that needs to be said. It's true and you can't argue with it.

I just found out about this and honestly... I wouldn't root for EA. Honestly, I didn't see Zynga as being that evil, or at least, not as bad as EA until fairly recently. Perhaps Zynga IS bad, but I'm not about to congratulate EA, not by a long shot!

Scrumpmonkey:
Oh God, Jim's uncanny Bane impression made me lose my shit XD Bravo Jim, that was amazing.

"This games industry... will... endure..."

On a more serious note; **Ahem**.
People hated and feared Zynga not because what they were doing effecting them directly, but for the example and power they were wielding over the rest of the 'business' side of the industry. Companies like EA lost their shit and panic-bought people like Playfish and Activision is still saying that 'anything is on the table' when it comes to mobile/social games. The big publishers were actively re-tooling themselves to focus on social gaming and would likely drag a lot of their talented development staff with them.

Social gaming is (it's fast becoming a 'was') a massive yet unattainable cash-cow miracle for the big publishers. It is their wet dream. They can rake in millions of dollars without doing what they fear most; having a single creative thought. Zynga's downfall is so important because it shows that the social gaming 'miracle' was merely a bubble and that the frankly illegal business practices they employed are not viable for the empty suites over at EA and Activision to emulate.

Social gaming was the future. That horrible distopian future has now turned mostly to shit. People are glad it has turned to shit. BUT all of this happened without EA and before this legal action. EA is just piling in to look like a good guy and its pretty pathetic.

I agree with your points about Zynga and Social gaming though I'd add that why people are happy Zynga is going down is because it represented a possibility of other companies like EA, like Activision turning to their business practices. So Jim I think is right that EA is the larger of the two evils but Zynga had the possibility of being worse... till their shitty little business bubble busted as you said.
Also I don't think EA is doing this to get kudos from gamers, they probably see it as a nice bonus but it's not their end goal (lest we forget EA treats their customers like they're the thieves). Their end goal is to destroy Zynga and leave all their fans without a social gaming home and that hopefully most will come to EA for their [insert]Ville fix.

I think at least part of the Escapist-based Zynga hatred is from the memorable March Mayhem a few years back.

But yeah, good point on the whole SOPA/PIPA thing, particularly with the TPP trying to get SOPA 2.0 in through the back door.

Another sensationalist episode from Jim Sterling.

Regardless of their own reasoning, EA suing Zynga is a good thing for the industry. It may not affect us personally yet, but it's still a good thing morally and legally. I don't see why it's somehow bad to want EA to win this lawsuit. I certainly don't see how someone literally stealing ideas from smaller companies and then beating them out of the business is less worse than EA. It may not affect everyone, but that's not the point. Some of us think that stealing ideas is worse than terrible business practices, some of us think that it's worse than online passes and DRM (which isn't even an issue on most EA games anyway).

After all what kind of community would we be if we didn't stick up for original ideas?

I've seen some previous posts about starting a kick-starter for Jim to sue...I think, if the internet needs any more kick-starters, it should be for Pedophile Slapfight: The Videogame. Now that, I would pay $60 for.

On the topic of the video, good points all around. They pretty much covered all my personal opinions on the matter, so I won't belabor repeating them. Bane speech was my favorite part. Not necessarily the impression itself, but the mask that appeared to be made out of plastic vampire teeth and a spray-painted painter's mask. Cracked me up.

So when will you fix your video player so that it's no longer a black box for me?
I don't feel like giving you money for that publishers club for the privilege of being able to use the alternatives.

I don't agree that Zynga does no harm to the part of the game industry we care about. I think it was in one of the Double Fine Adventure documentary episodes, Tim Schafer was talking about how excited he was to be designing a game again, and listing his CEO duties the last of which was "Persuading people not to leave for jobs at Zynga". Obviously he said it as a joke, but given they're both San Francisco companies I'm sure it must have happened in the past.

Add to that the numbner of legendary game designers who are making similar sorts of games and I really do think that the initial runaway success of companies like Zynga has lead to some of the best and brightest minds in gaming being lured away to the casual, freemium market. We can only hope that their now seemingly inevitable downfall alleviates that a bit, making it seem like a somewhat riskier prospect (even if Zynga is more an example of how sooner or later, shady people at the top and ludicrous purchases of companies whose success you don't understand = failure).

Of course, I have no doubt that the draconian, cut-throat business practices of publishers like EA have resulted in plenty of people leaving the AAA game out of disgust or neccessity, so seriously, screw the both of them.

While I'm not going to comment on the actual topic because I'm cool like that, I will wonder aloud if Jim has seen the Rifftrax for "Spider-Man." The main reason I bring it up was because the William Dafoe bit reminded me of it. Especially the whole 'rawr' bit that made up most of mini-Dafoe's speaking. Because, to put it as they did in that riff, "Willian Dafoe, when you need a movie monster but can't afford make-up."

Anyways, good episode all and all. Though every time I watch an episode I'm half-tempted to just close my laptop and simply listen because I can't stand some of the images that are used. >_>

Sue me Jim! SUE ME!

Signa:
The worst part of this is that by suing Zynga, EA is saying they own the entire sim genre. That is not something anyone should fight for.

Granted, the plagiarism is a big deal too, but Zynga I'm sure still built the game from the ground up.

That's what worries me. This means that no other dev is going to try and do what Sims does, but better.
It actually sets an even worse precedent than that. A lot of games are very similar; is R* going to sue Just Cause 3 out of existence? What about all the military FPSs? Which one is going to sue first?

Scorpid:

Scrumpmonkey:

I agree with your points about Zynga and Social gaming though I'd add that why people are happy Zynga is going down is because it represented a possibility of other companies like EA, like Activision turning to their business practices. So Jim I think is right that EA is the larger of the two evils but Zynga had the possibility of being worse... till their shitty little business bubble busted as you said.

I'm not sure if Jim has the whole picture of Zyngas crimes, how much money they were making and just how influential they almost become. The reason people are high-fiving eachother over EA's late to the part publicity stunt is that Zynga has got away with so much before. They operated in a legal grey area (and moral black-hole) and got away with a lot of shit;

--Zynga intentionally used advertisers that linked to spyware, malware and malicious software and only made a profit by doing so; encouraging their users to clink on ads that would potentially steal their personal details. Their manager even bragged about making so much money out of scamming and they got away with it

--Zynga's sub-companies wholesale STOLE art-assests, level lauouts and code from some mobile games. We're not talking about their usual IP/ideas infringement here, we're talking actual game level layouts, art assets and the like. and they got away with it

--Zynga miss led investors about their financial state just before and right after the IPO, leading to them being able to make BILLIONS in personal fortune on an inflated stock price and got away with it

--Zynga's top management then sold off nearly all of their shares using insider information that had been withheld from investors before their stock-price tanked and the company all but ran aground. They did some pretty blatant insider trading. They broke the law. They are criminals and should be in prison

The reason we get so mad at Zynga is that they claim to be a $10 billion flagship gaming company and operate like a cheap con-man. They were a cancer in the industry that many praised as its future.

People were actually rooting for EA? Oh great, now whenever they'll announce something it will start with "EA, the great and humble company which defeated the devil named Zynga in a battle of epic proportions for the gaming community, is happy to announce..."

Signa:
The worst part of this is that by suing Zynga, EA is saying they own the entire sim genre.

No, just the intellectual properties EA owns.

You're free to make any social sim you want, but if the game is just a re-skin it doesn't matter how much of the game was written from scratch.

I can't just grab a load of cameras and then start remaking all the popular films to introduce them as my creation. I can write a book in a magic castle, I just can't call my character Harry Potter and give him a fore-head scar.

I'm glad Zynga is going down, I actually like social gaming itself, but Zynga got such a strangle hold, it was near impossible for any company that couldn't make games within one of three frameworks to get any notice, it's similar to what happened with MMOs and WOW. Hopefully if Zynga moves out of the picture we could finally get some creativity.

This is one of those few that I don't agree with. Someone doing something good is still someone doing something good, no matter what they're doing or why or who they are or who it affects. And no, it doesn't affect me, and EA is "evil", but good on them anyway.

I mean, if a serial murderer developed a cure for colds or something I'd still thank him before throwing him back in prison forever.

There once was a man named Tim Langdell.

On small developers he fought with zeal

Mobigame in dire straights

Langdell had them taken the bait

Until he got hotheaded and made Mirrors

But EA had that Edge.

ElPatron:

Signa:
The worst part of this is that by suing Zynga, EA is saying they own the entire sim genre.

No, just the intellectual properties EA owns.

You're free to make any social sim you want, but if the game is just a re-skin it doesn't matter how much of the game was written from scratch.

I can't just grab a load of cameras and then start remaking all the popular films to introduce them as my creation. I can write a book in a magic castle, I just can't call my character Harry Potter and give him a fore-head scar.

They never went after Virtual Families, so the Ville is more of a direct ripoff.

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here