From the department of glass houses and stones, social gaming giant Zynga is suing Vostu, the biggest social gaming company in Brazil.
Vostu was co-founded by Josh Kushner, one of New York’s most active angel investors, and, full disclosure, a backer of Betabeat.
Zynga writes that Vostu has copied, “all of our key product features, product strategy, branding, mission statement and employee benefits lock, stock and barrel.”
As evidence, Zynga produced some side by side comparison of their games and Vostu products.
From the arrangement of the buttons to the avatars of starting characters to details like small gameplay bugs, there are a number of striking similarities between the titles produced by the two companies.
From Mafia Wars to FarmVille to Cafe World, Zynga has always stolen from smaller competitors. They have copied key elements of design, user interface and game play.
And that seems to be the crux of Vostu’s defense. “Zynga has been accused of copying so many games that they’ve sadly lost the ability to recognize games like ours that are chock-full of original content and have been independently created. Zynga’s anti-competitive effort to bully us with a frivolous lawsuit–especially when we have some of the same key investors–is pathetic.”
There is no small hypocrisy in Zynga suing a company for copying the structure of its games. But considering the degree to which the products resemble one another, will the “they started it” defense hold up in court?