Zynga Exec Clarifies "We Copy Games" Comment

Zynga Exec Clarifies "We Copy Games" Comment

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Zynga New York General Manager Dan Porter says his statement that Zynga copies games was "misrepresented" by journalists after a sexy headline.

Dan Porter, formerly the CEO of Draw Something studio OMGPOP and now the GM at Zynga New York, set off a kerfuffle last week when he said at panel discussion, "Zynga is often accused of copying games, which is mostly true." Zynga, of course, has run into legal trouble in the past for its idea-borrowin' ways - recently settled a settled a dispute with EA over The Ville, which EA claimed lifted "design choices, animations, visual arrangements and character motions and actions" directly from The Sims Social - but hearing a Zynga executive so readily acknowledge it was unusual, to say the least.

But in a Zynga blog post, Porter wrote that widespread reporting of the statement, which predictably led to yet more backlash against Zynga, misrepresented his meaning. "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," he wrote. "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."

His point, he explained, is that Zynga's "true genius" is understanding how to run games as a service. "So when I spoke to this group, I told them what I truly believe: the debate over copying games is a distraction if you are trying to figure out the future of social games; what matters is the ability to run those games as a service," he continued. "But I also know that is a nuanced point and isn't quite as sexy a headline. I should know better. Lesson learned."

As easy as it is to hate on Zynga, it's not an unfair perspective. Despite its downward spiral, Zynga's success demonstrates that for a large portion of the gaming audience, creative concepts take a back seat to refinement, execution and support. "Games as service" is quickly becoming mainstream, and major players who don't want to miss that bus have an obligation to figure out how to get on it.

Source: Zynga Blog

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Reverse thrusters; deflectors to maximum!

Surely there's a difference between "it's difficult to come up with an original idea" and 'Ctrl+C/Ctrl+V code'. I think the debate over originality in games is neither overblown nor misses the mark. But then I don't have much time for social games, so perhaps I'm the wrong type of person to understand that side of the argument?

Talk about being unfairly Ville-afide.

creative concepts take a back seat to refinement, execution and support.

Then explain why FarmVille isn't half as good in any of those areas as the game it copied, FarmTown.

The fact is, the reason people jumped on what you said, Mr. Porter, is that Zynga is already notorious for copying social games. Not just being inspired by them, or iterating on popular trends, but making point for point clones of other social games.

Zynga's real area of brilliance is in marketing. They know how to steal an idea, but advertise it successfully enough to stomp the original into the ground (and still they find time to sue people who try to do that to them). This is not a matter of refinement, execution, or support. This is a matter of aggressive business practices.

P.S. Thanks

P.P.S. Credit where due, their servers have better uptime than Maxis' servers.

I was forced to stop playing DrawSomething after the buyout by Zynga due to the new permissions, intrusive advertising and personal information being sold. Zynga can burn, I expect many former OMGPOP customers were caught with their pants down with the new changes that were largely unannounced and hidden in reams of legalese.

The only "distraction" is the one he's throwing out to draw attention away from the fact that Zynga has made a business model out of plagiarism. There is a distinct difference between, let's say, Painkiller being similar in style & theme to Doom, and pallet-swapping other developers' games & calling them your new "service"

May be why Zynga gets sued so often?

I totally agree with this guys statements and can definitely see how he's being unfairly represtented.

DVS BSTrD:
Talk about being unfairly Ville-afide.

lolz.

"Zynga is often accused of copying games, which is mostly true.... AH! I mean... Sue the ever loving shit out of us. ARGH, NO, I mean- I have a kilo of coke and a dead hooker stashed in the trunk- GRK- I mean---"

Andy Chalk:
"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," he wrote. "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."

That's some Grade A prime cut backpedaling, there. Not only did he deflect it onto the tired "nothing is original" observation (which is ironic in the sense that so many people have "noticed" this that the observation is true even of itself), but he also made sure to change the word "copy" to "derive".

Only problem is that there's a massive difference from something like Darksiders, which derives its gameplay from many sources, but is clearly its own creation, and the stuff that Zynga makes, where you wouldn't realize that it's a different game were it not for the title screen saying "[Something]Ville".

Next up Zynga announce their upcoming PC titles:
Ville Raider
VilleCity
Deus Ex: HumanVille
Bevilled
Villecraft 2: Heart of the Ville

Lot's of people know how unoriginal Zynga are, there is a difference between being inspired by a previous game and totally ripping it off. On top of that throw in abuse of privacy and you get one scummy company.

Zynga Lawyer: "er sir did you just put in writing an admission that your company steals ideas?"
Porter: "What NO? What I meant to say was er... FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU"
Zynga Lawyer: "sigh"

DVS BSTrD:
Talk about being unfairly Ville-afide.

ZING!(ga)

OT: Pretty sure his original comment was a Freudian slip; too bad for him Ctrl+Z doesn't work in real life

Andy Chalk:
Zynga Exec Clarifies "We Copy Games" Comment

His point, he explained, is that Zynga's "true genius" is understanding how to run games as a service.
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Translation - We copy games so we don't have to spend time planning the features and design, so we save money and monetize the game faster.

New Headline: "We Copy Games, But Charge Players For It Like An Arcade, Which Is Better Because Capitalism"

 

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