Developing a game that’s inspired or even derivative of another title is nothing new in the gaming industry. Look at Call of Duty. Is it the first time a game has ever let you look down the scope of a gun via first-person perspective? No, it took from what other first-person shooters had already offered and put its own spin on the genre.
No one from Treyarch or Activision (one of the developers for Call of Duty and its publisher, respectively) has ever said that their core shooting mechanics are a revolutionary, first-of-its-kind innovation. Zynga (Mafia Wars, Farmville), on the other hand, has no problems saying that they are, with no shame, copying from other titles. This unabashed belief is coming straight from Zynga New York General Manager, Dan Porter. Here are his exact words:
“Zynga is often accused of copying games, which is mostly true.”
Naturally, this pissed off quite a few people, including members of the press. In a knee-jerk reaction to the backlash of his statements, here’s a snippet of a clarification post he issued on the company’s blog:
“I am sorry that my actions have reflected negatively and generated negative press…What I actually said was that all games are derived from other games, that this has been happening long before Zynga, and that the debate about originality in games is vastly overblown and misses the mark.”
As explained earlier, Mr. Porter is absolutely accurate in explaining how games have fed off of each other for a long time — well before Zynga was even a company. However, it’s in the way he expressed this thought that has generated some uproar. He shouldn’t have said that his company was, for the most part, copying other games in such a blunt manner. Of course, saying that your company isn’t hard at work trying to innovate in whatever way possible is going to generate bad word-of-mouth and, most likely, insult your staff.
How are they supposed to feel when their General Manager says his company brings nothing new to the table other than the ability to re-skin other established games? How the hell are we, as consumers, supposed to feel after hearing that Dan Porter is perfectly fine providing us with regurgitated products? Talk about totally not nailing a thank you speech to your company — yeah, that first quote was from a congratulatory speech…not good.
What do you make of this? Is this an insult to you as a potential customer of theirs or do you think his statements were blown out of proportion? Sound off in the comments below.