Zynga accused of cloning hit indie iPhone game Tiny Tower


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Zynga accused of cloning hit indie iPhone game Tiny Tower

San Diego, CA-based independent iPhone game developer Nimblebit is accusing social games giant Zynga of ripping off its popular mobile title Tiny Tower.

Zynga last week launched on the Canadian App Store Dream Heights, a free-to-download tower-building game with in-app purchases that has clear similarities to summer 2011's Tiny Tower, which received Apple's 2011 iPhone Game of the Year.

"Clones" of games are a common occurrence on mobile platforms, but the Tiny Tower versus Dream Heights conflict has gained quick notoriety on the web due to the David and Goliath scenario of a massive public company allegedly copying the ideas of a three-person team.

Nimblebit's Ian Marsh got word out about the similarities between Dream Heights and Tiny Tower with an image that's still making the Twitter rounds. The image is made up of screenshots showing how Dream Heights' interface and gameplay mechanics appear strikingly similar to Tiny Tower's.

"We noticed you are about to launch a new iPhone game called Dream Heights! Congratulations!" reads the image, which was addressed to "all 2,789" of Zynga's employees. "We wanted to thank all of you guys for being such big fans of our iPhone game of the year, Tiny Tower!"

The sarcastic statement continues, "Good luck with your game, we are looking forward to inspiring you with our future games! Sincerely, (all 3 of us) -- Nimblebit."

Marsh also said on Twitter that Zynga "did try to go the honest route and try to acquire us first." He added that inside Dream Heights' app binary, the Zynga project "is named 'TowerVille' and its inhabitants are named zitizens" -- Tiny Tower's are called "bitizens."

Nimblebit and Zynga did not immediately reply to Gamasutra's requests for further comment.

Source: Gamasutra

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Simon-

Yep, Zynga are pure scum. Ripping off other games and marketing it to hell is their business model, and sad to say - it works. I wonder what would happen if Zynga met Apple. It would be a perfect fit.

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neufuse

and tiny tower is a rip off of Sim Tower made many years ago

simtower_1.jpg

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Nick H.
josL8.jpg
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grik

i see both pictures, i see they made a better version, but its hardly a copy. Well the idea is the same, but an idea can be trademark?

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HawkMan

i see both pictures, i see they made a better version, but its hardly a copy. Well the idea is the same, but an idea can be trademark?

It's pretty much a direct copy with graphical differences. functionally and play wise they are identical.

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Rudy

and tiny tower is a rip off of Sim Tower made many years ago

simtower_1.jpg

Yea but Tiny Tower is not exactly the same as Sim Tower. Dream Heights on the other hand is pretty much a 1:1 copy with a different art style. The buttons are all placed at the same spot etc
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shakey

This isn't the first time they have done it either. Just a dispicable tactic. They can't create anything original, and have to resort to stealing others idea's and putting shine to them.

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ArialBlue

Zynga does not have the decency to pay Nimblebit for the concept and/or co-develop with Nimblebit?

What a shock...

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oceanmotion

Blatent copy. Could they not sue them ?

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DirtyLarry

Just sad, as there is no question who would have the better lawyers even if they had any kind of case. So the little team of devs gets screwed over by the massive corporation and there is pretty much nothing at all they can do about it without going bankrupt on lawyer fees. Way to go Zynga.

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Lunfai

Visually Zynga has basically remade the game group up with better visuals hoping to attract Tiny Towers market. I think in some certain extent, it'll work because it does look a lot more pleasing then Tiny Towers, and much more polished since Zynga isn't considered an Indie Company ^^.

It might be a blatant rip-off but there's also Sim Towers which was released ages ago, I think the claims of the user interface is the reason why Tiny Tower developers are mad.

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LaP

i see both pictures, i see they made a better version, but its hardly a copy. Well the idea is the same, but an idea can be trademark?

Hardly ? It's the same game with better gfx.

You can make a new game using the same concept. But at least change the ui more than Zynga did.

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AJerman

Zynga is a BS company. Most of their games are crap, and pulling **** like this makes it even easier to not waste money on them. This doesn't really compare to Sim Tower at all, because aside from building a tower for people and businesses to move into, it's not the same game. These two are IDENTICAL though.

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neufuse

Zynga is a BS company. Most of their games are crap, and pulling **** like this makes it even easier to not waste money on them. This doesn't really compare to Sim Tower at all, because aside from building a tower for people and businesses to move into, it's not the same game. These two are IDENTICAL though.

you have to remember sim tower was a game from the 90's, it wasn't a full game by todays standards, they did copy the style of the game and the idea, but added a lot to it

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____

and tiny tower is a rip off of Sim Tower made many years ago

simtower_1.jpg

Exactly

Nothing is produced in a vacuum, everything is in some way derivative of the things that came before it. I'm not standing up for Zynga but I think the Tiny Tower devs should do some reflection on where their ideas came from before complaining that others are stealing "their" ideas.

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AJerman

you have to remember sim tower was a game from the 90's, it wasn't a full game by todays standards, they did copy the style of the game and the idea, but added a lot to it

I played Sim Tower for hours on end. It was nothing at all the same as either of these games. To say it was the same is like saying Forza and Mario Kart are the same because they are both racing games. The concept is similar, but the execution is entirely different. Between these two games though, the concept and execution are identical, only the graphics are changed, and only slightly.

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c3ntury

Yea but Tiny Tower is not exactly the same as Sim Tower. Dream Heights on the other hand is pretty much a 1:1 copy with a different art style. The buttons are all placed at the same spot etc

Zynga couldn't care less from what I'm seeing sadly.

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Lunfai

you have to remember sim tower was a game from the 90's, it wasn't a full game by todays standards, they did copy the style of the game and the idea, but added a lot to it

Infact Mega Mall Story is more similar then Sim Towers, but that's not the point. Tiny Towers did add a lot of it's own uniqueness that made it a true mobile sim game. It had easy gameplay that you can go back to every once in awhile and you can come back and pick up from where you left on, whilst the game still carries on without you. Don't forget to mention the chance to quicken the process of making a bigger better tower by using dollars that can be achieved in the game or bought from the IAP store. It wasn't just some blatant rip off, but well thought of game, and Zynga has really taken the **** by copying it without really adding something to their own, but it's not like they've not thought of a business strategy. Looking at the screenshots, it looks VERY similar and also looks FAR more appealing, which will bring more potential consumers and existing Tiny Tower players.

TLDR; Tiny Towers isn't a rip off of Sim Towers, they might be both simulation games based on running a business type tower, but there is a lot of new ideas thrown in the table that made the game different. Zynga made a prettier version, hoping to get the exisiting player base plus more, as it's far more appealing in terms of graphics, yet it's the same gameplay; almost.

Extreme TLDR; It's a business strategy, get over it.

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FloatingFatMan

This isn't the first time they have done it either. Just a dispicable tactic. They can't create anything original, and have to resort to stealing others idea's and putting shine to them.

I thought this article was about Zynga, not Apple... ;)

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Lunfai

I thought this article was about Zynga, not Apple... ;)

Extreme TLDR; It's a business strategy, get over it. :p x 2

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