Casual gaming just got a lot more serious. Overlords of Facebook, Zynga, have been served courtesy of developer SocialApps, another Californian team of coders. The controversy, unsurprisingly, centers around Farmville, the hugely popular and near ubiquitous timewaster that effectively made Zynga.
Here’s the rundown: SocialApps makes an agreement with Zynga. That agreement states that SocialApps would provide the code for their game MyFarm (do you see where this is going yet?) in exchange for compensatory returns of some form. Then Zynga cut and run, never to speak to SocialApps again while going ahead and making Farmville using the (supposedly) purloined code. As a result of this breach, the MyFarm progenitors now demand damages, a permanent injunction against Zynga, lawyer’s fees, and a cut from all Farmville profits made to date. This appears to be a typical lawsuit given the circumstances, but is a first for Zynga – a company who have had legal issues with copyrights and names but never accusations of bald-faced theft and fly-by-night tactics.
Am I the only one getting sick and tired of casual game infighting? Between the acquisition of PopCap, the myriad games and ads strewn about for games, and now this lawsuit, it would seem that the quest for domination could be the downfall of casual gaming. At least my cynical self can hope so, because if I see another Farmville thing I will vomit.