And the saga of Zynga vs Vostu continues, as Vostu, the Brazilian social game developer, has filed a countersuit against Zynga after being sued by the gaming juggernaut last June. As a recap, Zynga sued Vostu for copyright infringement, after Vostu's MegaCity was shown to have incredibly similar designs and gameplay elements to Zynga's CityVille, which was released four months prior.
Not willing to take these serious accusations lying down, today Vostu filed a countersuit against Zynga stating the company has no right to "claim copyright over the design of everyday objects and places, including barns, farms and chairs." As reported by the NY Times, Vostu also goes on to call out Zynga for copying many designs from other games in the past as well.
But it's not just Zynga or Vostu that seem to have found the copy and paste mechanic, as Vostu compiled images showing release dates and screenshots of popular city-building and cafe games. Starting with Playdom's Social City in March of 2010, we see games from all sorts of developers, including Quepasa and Gamester, releasing similar games that all allow for the design of a fairly identical city using in-game items.
As for the restaurant games, the similarities are just as striking. Taking a cue from Playfish's Restaurant City, Zynga, Vostu, You Dong Network and Metrogames all released similarly themed cafe games, as seen below.
While this might seem like Vostu is incriminating itself by including its own games in these comparisons, it seems instead that it's simply trying to show that Zynga shouldn't be allowed to throw its weight around, when it's just as guilty of "borrowing" ideas. What's more, Vostu's suit claims that Zynga went so far as to entering into talks with the company over a potential partnership that would see Vostu revealing information about how Zynga could branch into the Brazilian social gaming market, but these talks quickly dissolved and Vostu was sued shortly thereafter.
While this entire legal drama seems to have spawned from the phrase "pot calling the kettle black," it is promising to see a smaller company standing up to Zynga (and its surely massive legal team). With all of these examples to back it up, could Vostu actually turn things around and win this thing, or at least force Zynga to quietly crawl away from the courtroom? As this drama is sure to continue to unfold, we'll make sure to let you know what comes of it.
[Image Credit: NY Times, Vostu]
Do you think Zynga has the right (or should) sue Vostu for copyright infringement based on images of MegaCity and CityVille, or is Zynga just as guilty of borrowing gameplay ideas and designs as the other companies mentioned? Sound off in the comments.