Zynga CEO: 'Be careful not to throw stones when you live in glass towers'

Zynga CEO Mark Pincus
Zynga CEO Mark Pincus

Those are Zynga CEO Mark Pincus's words to those that accuse the FarmVille creator of copying its game ideas, namely Tiny Tower creator NimbleBit and Buffalo Studios, the team behind Bingo Blitz. In an interview with VentureBeat, the Zynga head went into great detail regarding the recent allegations made against the company over Dream Heights and Zynga Bingo, respectively.

Pincus suggested that those who believe that Zynga copied Buffalo Studio's Bingo Blitz in making Zynga Bingo should look to the developer's now-defunct Poker Blitz. "It was a little ironic to look at Bingo Blitz. Pull that lens back. Look at our game Poker Blitz, and then Bingo Blitz, you see striking similarities in those pictures," Pincus told VentureBeat. The San Francisco-based Zynga chief even addressed allegations regarding the developer's most iconic game, FarmVille.

"You can go back to FarmVille. Look at Farm Town and say, 'Those pictures are troubling. They look too similar.' But you pull the lens back again, and you see Farm Town next to My Farm, and next to Happy Farm, and next to YoVille," Pincus said to VentureBeat. "What you see is a series of games innovating on top of each other. You see Farm Town had a very similar avatar to YoVille."

Pincus said that, as far as innovation is concerned, Zynga focuses on first-time user experience: how many clicks or how many seconds it takes for the player to understand what a given game is all about. The company also claims to have pioneered with features such as mystery crates and its clever money-making techniques. "We don't need to be first to market. We need to be the best to market," Pincus wrote in a confidential memo to employees addressing NimbleBit's cheeky accusations this month.

"You should be careful not to throw stones when you live in glass towers," Pincus said to VentureBeat. "When you pull the lens back, you saw that their tower game looked similar to five other tower games going all the way back to SimTower in the early 1990s." Check out the telling interview (and memo) in full right here.

[Image Credit: Scott Olson Getty Images]

Do you think Zynga's approach to the issue of copycatting is a sound one? Do Zynga's games evolve the existing social game sub-genres on the whole? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment

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