voodoo games

Hyper casual developer Voodoo wins copycat case against Zynga’s Rollic Games

Two games, both about carving logs and both released within a day of each other in December of last year, have come to loggerheads (sorry) in a french court case to argue over who copied who and when. 

And its Voodoo’s Woodturning 3D, which came out a day after Rollic and Hero Games (a Zynga-owned studio), that has come out on top according to a french court earlier this month. 

The initial release of the games wasn’t actually the issue, both allowed players to carve logs of wood to meet a set shape, but instead it was updates that were made to them later that proved contentious. 

According to a statement from Voodoo: “In its original form, Wood Shop was a more basic version of the two games. Unlike Woodturning 3D, It did not offer carving stencil options, did not present the shape of the object in the log of wood to facilitate the cutting, and did not have a polishing and painting stage.

“Rollic and Hero Games released a revised version of Wood Shop on 7 January 2020, with a series of updates, closely linked to all of the original features of Woodturning 3D. This included a new app icon, carving stencils, chisel options, smoothing sponge, paint can, and a results screen.”

The court found that these updates were copied from Voodoo’s game. 

Alexander Shea, Publishing Manager of Voodoo, commented on the case: “We welcome the decision from the French court, which supports our view that Rollic updated its game to imitate key features of our popular title, Woodturning 3D. We hope today’s decision will highlight an important message for the mobile gaming industry that copycats are unacceptable.”

The French Court ordered Rollic and Hero Games to pay Voodoo €125,000 in economic and reputational damages, as well as remove Wood Shop from the Google and Apple stores.

There’s some sense of irony here though, as Voodoo itself has been accused of plagiarism in the past, with indie developers, such as Donut County creator Ben Esposito pointing out that Voodoo lifted the idea for its games Hole.io from his title while it was in development.

About Seth Barton

Seth Barton is the editor of MCV – which covers every aspect of the industry: development, publishing, marketing and much more. Before that Seth toiled in games retail at Electronics Boutique, studied film at university, published console and PC games for the BBC, and spent many years working in tech journalism. Living in South East London, he divides his little free time between board games, video games, beer and family. You can find him tweeting @sethbarton1.

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