Did Farmville Steal Game Code From A Competitor?

Did Farmville Steal Game Code From A Competitor?

Zynga, the big-hitting developers of games like FarmVille and CityVille, has found itself in court accused of not just ripping off another company’s idea, but literally stealing the code for it.

Developer SocialApps claims that it entered into an agreement with Zynga back in 2009 to develop a farming game, based on its existing Facebook title myFarm. SocialApps says that they entered into a Letter of Agreement through which Zynga would get their hands on myFarm‘s source code, however it’s claimed that as soon as Zynga received said code they’d no longer return any of SocialApps’ calls. A few months later, FarmVille was released, SocialApps accusing Zynga of using their code for the smash hit game and neither crediting them or paying them for their troubles.

In terms of damages, SocialApps is looking for $US100,000. More importantly, though, it’s also after a cut of Zynga’s profits, believing every cent the company has made off FarmVille was down to myFarm’s code. For good measure, it’s also alleged that the same code is used in other Zynga titles like FrontierVille, CityVille and FishVille.

Online Farming (game) Dispute! [Patent Arcade]


  • Bah, just when I thought Zynga couldnt be any lower/greeedier, they prove me wrong. Congrats, Mr. Pincus, on being pretty much the biggest douchebag ever.

  • I think it will be interesting to see how SocialApps goes about proving that their code caused FarmVille and friends to become the ginormous F2P it is today.

    I mean, the code was stolen in 2009. It’s entirely possible that their original code has possibly been edited and mangled in all the assumed code revisions and updates Zynga has done since then. Just a thought.

    • Given that they claim they handed their code over just a few months before FarmVille was released you wouldn’t think that’d be enough time to do too extensive a rewrite (assuming it was, in fact, built on their code as they claim).

      • I figure that much, but SocialApps have to prove that their code was used in at least the initial build of FarmVille to support their claim.

        If there is none of the initial code left from the original build, then I’m not sure exactly how they could prove that Zynga actually did this. I’m also sure it wouldn’t be that hard to get rid of those code repositories if they did still exist. Unless Zynga are nubs (entirely possible).

        • I’m not an expert in the law by any stretch of the imagination, but I guess if they’ve got a working prototype of their original game (using the code they provided Zynga) that they can demonstrate is very similar to the original version of Farmville, combined with correspondence showing that Zynga did actually ask for and receive their code, then they’ve probably got at last half a leg to stand on.

          • You have a point there. I think the original correspondence could end up being more of a case breaker than the code itself, since its more likely to prove the code being taken and the deal being broken, but not necessarily their entitlement to the profits as they’re seeking. I’d imagine getting a share of the profits would require that their code was actually the basis for or is currently being used in FarmVille and Zynga’s other products.

            I guess, though, we’ll just have to see how it goes. Not too sure how solid / financially backed SocialApps are, but I’m pretty sure Zynga’s legal team will be able to give them a decent run for their money.

      • I don’t have the link on me but I remember reading that farmville took six weeks to create, so it is possible they used the stolen code.

  • Again though the question needs to be posed – if this happened in 2009, why has it only been brought up now?

    • Maybe they have wireless internet connection and they were waiting for a response, thinking it was just packet loss. Lol

    • The legal system isn’t always the first resort… nor should it be. And of course the wheels of said system can turn very slowly.

    • Well, whats the point of doing it if they got nothing out of it? It is only logic that dictats that you only go after them if they get someware. No point wasting money on leagle stuff other wise.

  • I love how these kind of lawsuits never happen unless the company finds massive success. Why didn’t they sue back when Farmville was released? They just happened to do it now, when they’re going to be worth millions?

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