Zynga CEO Defends Copycat Game Strategy in Leaked Memo

Paul Lilly

The app developers behind the mobile iOS game Tiny Tower recently called out Zynga for blatantly ripping off their app to create Dream Heights, which is almost the exact same game with a different title. Copying another developer's game concepts and making them your own is by no means new to the industry or unique to Zynga, though in most cases the new product isn't a near clone of the original, as was the case with Dream Heights. Zynga CEO Mark Pincus isn't losing any sleep over it.

In a leaked internal memo obtained by Forbes, Pincus said he was "proud of the mobile team's hard work" and the fact that the industry "has taken notice," and then went on to defend the way Zynga does business.

"Google didn’t create the first search engine. Apple didn’t create the first MP3 player or tablet. And, Facebook didn’t create the first social network," Pincus points out. "But these companies have evolved products and categories in revolutionary ways. They are all internet treasures because they all have specific and broad missions to change the world.

"We don’t need to be first to market. We need to be the best in market. There are genres that we’re going to enter because we know our players are interested in them and because we want and need to be where players are. We evolve genres by making games free, social, accessible and highest quality."

It's easy to pick apart his statements as it pertains to Dream Heights. For starters, it's an almost identical copy of Tiny Tower and a not and evolutionary step forward. Secondly, it's a paid app, which is contradictory to the last line quoted above, unlike Tiny Tower, which is free.

According to Forbes, Pincus once said, "I don't want f***ing innovation. You're not smarter than your competitor. Just copy what they do and do it until you get their numbers." His memo echos a similar sentiment, only long-winded and with cleaner language.

You can read the memo in its entirety on Forbes here .

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