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Zynga’s cloning protection racket
Zynga has just launched a game Dream Heights which is a direct clone of Tiny Tower from independent developers Nimblebit.
Now it turns out that Nimblebit turned down an acquisition offer from Zynga.
For me, that puts the cloning in a different light. It’s not just shameless copying of creativity by a heartless corporation: it’s a punishment and a threat.
I can now imagine the approach from Zynga’s mergers and acquisition team to a small indie with an interesting game.
“Hi there, I represent Zynga. We’d like to buy your company for a knock-down rate. If you won’t accept our offer, we’ll just make an exact copy of your game and use our marketing muscle to kill you. And there’s nothing you can do about it because game mechanics can’t be copyrighted, and even if you try to sue us, we’ve got more money and nastier lawyers than you do.”
Sound like anything else to you?
“Have you considered fire insurance? Very flammable, these Chicago businesses in the 1920s”