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Zynga on copying social games: "the debate about originality is vastly overblown"

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Social gaming titan Zynga isn't known for diversity in its products. It often deals with accusations of cloning popular games from other developers—app studio NimbleBit's response (opens in new tab) to a Zynga game uncannily similar to its Tiny Tower sim is perhaps the best sarcasm-laden example. But in an open letter (opens in new tab) on the company's website (via Eurogamer (opens in new tab) ), Zynga New York boss Dan Porter claims that in the world of social gaming, everyone copies everyone else.

"All games are derived from other games," Porter states. "This has been happening long before Zynga, and the debate about originality in games is vastly overblown and misses the mark."

Porter references his time spent at Draw Something creator OMGPOP before Zynga bought the company last March, saying the team "made lots of games inspired by games we loved, and we emulated the mechanics from games with great UI. This is no great revelation."

"The debate over copying games is a distraction if you're trying to figure out the future of social games," he continues. "What matters is the ability to run those games as a service."

Zynga may not make games that appeal to most hardcore PC gamers, but their business practices and approach to development continues to influence how free-to-play games and microtransaction services are designed in PC games. What do you think of Porter's comments?

Omri Petitte is a former PC Gamer associate editor and long-time freelance writer covering news and reviews. If you spot his name, it probably means you're reading about some kind of first-person shooter. Why yes, he would like to talk to you about Battlefield. Do you have a few days?