Checkpoint: PUBG Lays Down the Law on Fortnite

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Via Kotaku"South Korea’s PUBG Corp., the studio behind PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, is suing Epic Games, the developer of Fortnite, for copyright infringement.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite have always had a tangled relationship. PUBG, based on an Arma mod that dropped 100 people into an arena and pitted them against one another, came out in March of 2017 and became a massive success, drawing millions of players.

It would also go on to inspire countless clones, with Fortnite becoming the largest competitor with its own Battle Royale mode. Whereas PUBG launched only for PC (and, later, Xbox One) and cost money, Fortnite’s Battle Royale mode was free-to-play and launched on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox."

Well...we’re back to this again. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds' developer PUBG Corp is once again starting up the seemingly inexhaustible lawsuit machine. This time the accusations are being directed at its biggest competitor, fellow battle royale phenomenon Fortnite. This comes as a surprise to hardly anyone as the two games have been the subject of frequent comparisons to one another for the better part of a year. When Epic Games first introduced its new battle-royale game mode to Fortnite back in September of 2017, PUBG developer Bluehole was quick to voice its opinion on the matter. Bluehole’s vice-president Chang Han Kim said in a statement “we are concerned that Fortnite may be replicating the experience for which PUBG is known.” Now it appears that PUBG Corp is ready to back up these claims with legal action.

The lawsuit, which was filed back in January, was only recently made public and comes hot on the tails of several other lawsuits also filed by PUBG Corp against perceived clones. In April, Chinese gaming company NetEase was sued as a result of of several striking similarities between PUBG and two of its mobile games Rules of Survival and Knives Out. The claims were the subject of much controversy at the time with many critics pointing out that while PUBG may have popularized the battle royale genre, it certainly did not create it.  

 Imagine if the makers of  Goldeneye  tried to sue every FPS that had a split-screen feature.

Imagine if the makers of Goldeneye tried to sue every FPS that had a split-screen feature.

The lawsuit against Epic Games was also made at a time when PUBG was beginning to lose ground to Fortnite for the position of largest online playerbase. Thus it’s easy for some to believe that this may be nothing more than an attempt by PUBG Corp to sway some players away from Fortnite, but if anything the publicity is more detrimental than helpful. Love it or hate it, Fortnite has solidified itself as a cultural phenomenon and the battle royale game type is set to become the template for future multiplayer experiences. Attempts by the creators of PUBG to claim some sort of ownership over this format have only served to drive players away, and it seems their time would be better served looking for ways to improve and innovate.