July 6, 2012 at 3:32 PM ET
Stand back players, a war is under way. It's gaming giant vs. gaming giant with the latest volley to be fired in the form of (gasp!) ... a musical ditty.
This week, Electronic Arts launched its newest Facebook game -- "SimCity Social." It is a more casual -- and more social -- installment in the long-running "SimCity" franchise, renowned and beloved for its intricate city-creation and management gameplay.
And as the following trailer for the new game proves, EA has its sights set squarely on Facebook gaming behemoth Zynga and its competing city-management game -- "CityVille." In the tuneful ditty, EA calls for "more city, less 'ville" -- poking fun at Zynga's ever-growing list of 'Ville games ("FarmVille," "CastleVille," "CityVille," and yes, the forthcoming "ChefVille").
And they poke with good reason. These two companies are going mano a mano in a big way.
Last week, Zynga launched "The Ville" -- a "house and people" simulation game in which you create and manage the lives of digital people and the homes they live in. Does that sound familiar? If it does, it's probably because you've played "The Sims" from EA at some point.
When Zynga launched "The Ville" last week, many a player and game pundit couldn't help but notice just how much, eh, inspiration it seemed to have taken from EA's long-running Sims franchise -- and specifically from EA's Facebook game "The Sims Social."
How similar? Well, here's a look at screenshots from each game. Do YOU know which is which? (See answer at the bottom of this story!)
In fact, the games are so similar, the avatars in each even do the nasty in similar fashion (when avatars have sex in "The Sims Social" it's called "woo-hoo," when they do it in "The Ville" it's called "whoopee.")
Of course, this isn't the first time EA has jabbed at Zynga in video form. Their "Kisses Not Cows" video set out to make "FarmVille" players everywhere wish they were playing "The Sims Social" ... or perhaps just wish they were sitting in a hot tub.
Perhaps it's no wonder EA is on the attack. According to AppData, EA is trailing Zynga significantly when it comes to the number of people playing its games on Facebook. Zynga currently boasts alsmo 245 million montly active users, while EA has some 41 million monthly active users.
But Facebook gamers, let's hear it from you -- Which do you prefer: "The Ville" or "The Sims Social?" "CityVille" or "SimCity Social?" Or, well, does it really matter?
ANSWER: The first screenshot is from "The Sims Social." The second screenshot is from "The Ville."
Winda Benedetti writes about video games for msnbc.com. You can follow her tweets about games and other things on Twitter here @WindaBenedetti and you follow her on Google+. Meanwhile, be sure to check out the IN-GAME FACEBOOK PAGE to discuss the day's gaming news and reviews.