The ongoing litigation between Mob Wars creator David Maestri and SGN is over. On December 16 the two sides reached a settlement. The Mob Wars game goes to Maestri, but SGN will have rights to create similar style games itself. SGN also received an undisclosed financial settlement.
The history of this powerful little app is dramatic. It was first created by Maestri while still employed at SGN’s former iteration, FreeWebs, under the pseudonym Jason Gilbert. That alone is evidence that the game actually belonged to his employer. Maestri left SGN in February 2008, and SGN sued Maestri for control over the game. For more background, see here.
Mob Wars, which is a game that lets players act as criminals and rise through the mob ranks by committing crimes, fighting other players, etc., brings in a lot of money. Players use real currency to buy weapons and other virtual goods on the site. Some estimates suggest revenue may have peaked at $1 million/month, and there are nearly 2.5 million active users of the application on Facebook today.
It has also spawned a number of copycats, including Zynga’s Mafia Wars, with 2.7 million active users.
Given that the settlement allows SGN to create its own knockoffs without fear of future litigation, suggestion is that Maestri will pursue Zynga and others for intellectual property infringement.