Zynga CEO Mark Pincus has addressed the issue of copying within the games industry, seemingly prompted by Nimblebit's "Dear Zynga" infographic from last week. In an interview with VentureBeat, Pincus repeatedly says that those accusing his company of stealing ideas should "pull the lens back" and notice the similarities between their games and some of Zynga's other products. These comments were targeted particularly at Buffalo Studios, whose game Bingo Blitz he says bears "striking similarities" to Zynga's Poker Blitz. In an internal email, Pincus says of Zynga, "We don’t need to be first to market. We need to be the best in market."
When Nimblebit's accusations that Zynga copied Tiny Tower in creating Dream Heights are raised, he is quick to say that "Tower" games are nothing new: "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." This response isn't quite good enough for Nimblebit's Ian Marsh, who points out that Pincus has bundled together games with "tower" in the name in an attempt to create a genre, including puzzler Tower Bloxx. He feels that Dream Heights is far more derivative not only in appearance but also gameplay mechanics than his own Tiny Tower is of titles like SimTower.
This isn't to say that Pincus is advocating copying within the industry — the company's history with Brazilian games site Vostu speaks volumes over its attitude to its own intellectual property — but it seems that he's also willing to use his competitors as inspiration to capture as many social players as possible.