EA and Zynga settle The Ville legal dispute out of court

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Electronic Arts and Zynga have settled their dispute over The Sims Social and The Ville out of court, the terms of the settlement undisclosed.

EA filed a suit against the social games giant last August, citing the similarities between Zynga’s The Ville and its own The Sims Social and calling the game an “unmistakeable copy”. Zynga fought back in September, calling EA’s argument a “baseless sham”

Today, both companies issued a joint statement: “EA and Zynga have resolved their respective claims and have reached a settlement of their litigation in the Northern District of California”.

It’s a disappointing conclusion to what was touted as a principled case against Zynga’s business practices, widely viewed by the industry as unethical.

“Maxis isn’t the first studio to claim that Zynga copied its creative product,” wrote a righteous Lucy Bradshaw, Maxis’ general manager, on EA’s The Beat blog at the time. “But we are the studio that has the financial and corporate resources to stand up and do something about it.

“By calling Zynga out on this illegal practice, we hope to have a secondary effect of protecting the rights of other creative studios who don’t have the resources to protect themselves… Today, we hope to be taking a stand that helps the industry protect the value of original creative works and those that work tirelessly to create them.”

By settling out of court, EA has discarded this crusade and abandoned the independent developers it claimed it sought to protect by launching the legal action. Clearly, the value of that victory was outweighed by the compensation it was offered.

We’ve contacted Maxis and EA for comment.