Powerhouse social gaming company Zynga, as you may or may not know has a new app on the market called Dream Heights that looks strikingly similar to small indie developer NimbleBits's award winning Tiny Tower -- so much so that NimbleBit has called Zynga out on the matter.
Dream Heights was released last week, albeit solely to the Canadian App Store, which is a common place for freemium apps to be tested before wider release. Since then many in the community have remarked on the similarities to Tiny Tower. While the games each have their own unique styling, the premise for them both is identical and there is no denying the similarities between the two.
NimbleBit let the community -- and more importantly Zynga -- know they were indeed aware of the situation, when Ian Marsh tweeted out a comedic image addressing the issue. Later Tweets from David Marsh, lent some more color to the matter, referencing Zynga's failed purchase attempt of NimbleBit.
“Even when you refuse to go work for Zynga, sometimes you end up doing work for Zynga anyway,”
There are plenty of copy-cat apps in the iTunes App Store and Apple does have guidelines that attempt to help stop such things from happening. Stoneloops is an example of a game that has been MIA from the App Store for years following an infringement complaint. But that was a case of a huge developer using legal muscle against a small, indie developer. This is exactly the opposite way around.
How effective NimbleBit can afford to be is a big question. No matter how you look at though, it's a pretty shady move on Zynga's part -- even if they're not the only ones out there doing it. Just because Zynga can copy a game doesn't mean they should, and the fact they tried a legitimate buy NimbleBits first and failed, then copied the game, only makes matters worse.