The practice of drawing ideas from or "copying" other games has always been present in the industry, and originality in game development has become a "vastly overblown topic," according to Zynga vice president Dan Porter.
In response to numerous articles reporting Porter said that "Zynga copies games," the vice president took to the company blog to clarify his statements. Porter wrote that his words were taken out of context, and that they were part of a larger section of "small talk" discussing the future of "wearing gaming and the ramification of everyday events."
"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," he wrote. "Before making Draw Something we ran OMGPOP for four years and made lots of games that were inspired by games we loved and we emulated the mechanics from games with great UI. This is no great revelation."
In a panel discussion sponsored by menswear company Frank & Oak held in New York City last Wednesday, Porter said that Zynga is "often accused of copying games, which is mostly true," adding that "what Zynga is really good at is managing a game as a live service."
"I am sorry that my actions have reflected negatively and generated negative press for the company," he said. "I'm also sorry if anyone on the game creation side felt that my comments were somehow a discredit to their work."
Porter added that "the debate over copying games is a distraction" from successful social game development, and that it is important to figure out how to manage these games as a service.
Porter's full letter can be read on Zynga's company blog.